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Stop fighting war on ‘pot’ and benefit from its non-narcotic use

Monday, September 16, 2013
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Stop fighting war on ‘pot’ and benefit from its non-narcotic use

A Sept. 9 article, “National Guard copter aids in seizure of pot plants,” made one thing clear: Public officials in New York want to prolong their fruitless war against cannabis.

The article featured the New York National Guard’s anti-drug task force, which recently flew a helicopter for three days over Schoharie County towns. The task force participates in similar efforts statewide to destroy illicit cannabis crops as they merely absorb sunlight and gently sway in rural breezes.

In that operation, a total of 334 plants were reportedly spotted, then cut down by Schoharie County officials, who most likely had to invade private property. But such costly annual raids of “pot” fields barely dent the drug’s market.

Besides, local officials never admit that two different types of cannabis exist, each of which has immense economic value. In botanical terms, it’s a dioecious plant species. Both federal and state laws fail to make that important distinction.

One plant type produces narcotic flowers, which everyone calls marijuana. Nearly half of the United States have changed their marijuana laws. The other cannabis type, called hemp, provides non-narcotic flowers, stalks and seeds. Hemp is not even a drug, so farmers in other states may soon profit from those plants, too.

In fact, the raw materials of cannabis could supply a new era of eco-friendly manufacturing and job creation. It’s possible that hemp commerce alone could help revitalize upstate cities, where vacant, crumbling factories stand as constant eyesores.

Then again, most officials in New York remain addicted to their negative marijuana biases.

Lawrence Goodwin

Amsterdam

Kilmer made lasting impression as a teacher

I just recently noticed a small article on the Sept. 11 sports page about Warren Kilmer, who was being inducted into the SUNY-Cortland Athletic Hall of Fame for his many baseball accomplishments.

Sometimes things go unnoticed in life, such as that Mr. Kilmer was a kindhearted, caring schoolteacher. And I, as a young boy, knew him to be someone to admire and look up to. Not just for myself, but for many others who were taught by him.

How do you ever repay his friendly, nurturing demeanor? Maybe our memories of him is enough.

Mr. Kilmer certainly deserves these honors from Cortland, but he should be proud to know all the many children’s hearts he touched in his life were just as important.

My gratitude to him.

Dave Larrabee

Schenectady

The writer is a former Lincoln School student.

Food truck should spare us all by changing its name

Re the Aug. 27 article, “Food truck rodeo called off”: I find it deplorable that once again, the Wandering Dago food truck has caused a stir by its presence at an event now felt all the way to the Schenectady City Council.

Furthermore, the owners have now hired a high-powered Albany law firm and filed a lawsuit against the state.

Why spend all this time, effort, and money on the law firm, when the owners could use their time and money to change their articles of incorporation and the name on the truck — which [is what] we requested of them in the first place?

It makes more practical and eminent sense to do just that. Everyone involved will then be happy and the owners could entertain their business unscathed.

Lou Gallo

Miller Place

The writer is chairman of the state Commission for Social Justice, the anti-defamation arm of the Sons of Italy.

Don’t believe hype about e-cigarettes; they’re bad

As a youth in the state anti-tobacco program Reality Check, lately I’ve been seeing scary statistics about the use of electronic cigarettes [e-cigarettes] among teenagers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, from 2011 to 2012, the percentage of both middle and high school students using e-cigarettes has more than doubled, from 4.7 percent to 10 percent. Many people support the use of e-cigarettes as a replacement for conventional cigarettes, saying they are a form of smoking cessation.

However, there is no official evidence supporting any long-term quitting effects. In fact, electronic cigarettes still contain nicotine, the addictive substance in tobacco products, and they are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This means the public has no assurance of what is in the product.

Walking into local convenience stores, I am bombarded with advertisements promoting the use of electronic cigarettes; these are sleek, attractive ads near candy displays, which is attention-grabbing for children and teens.

E-cigarettes are not a healthy alternative for conventional cigarettes. They are still toxic, addicting and should not be advertised to young people.

Kalie White

Queensbury

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comments

September 16, 2013
7:41 a.m.
Will1960 says...

@Lawrence Goodwin,

You are spot-on with this issue. This notion of protecting someone from themselves has been a terrible waste of time, resources and tax dollars. However, the bigger question in the war on pot is a person's individual freedoms. Who controls what a US citizen can put into their bodies; the individual or the government?
/
There has been a lot progress as opponents of the drug war can no longer be dismissed as pot smoking radicals. Yet today New York State is still lagging behind on reforms. Gov. Cuomo has shown no leadership as he opposed even the medical marijuana bill by Assemblyman Richard Godfried. Legalization will eventually be the law of the land and for those who fought the drug war so vigorously and the politicians who supported them, they will be the ones dismissed as prohibitionists in the history books.

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