Tuesday, September 05, 2017 1:00 am
City limiting its options
It was telling that Councilman Michael Barranda's Aug. 27 column did not mention the economic principles raised in John Kessler's essay, “The city that sells itself (Aug. 3).”
Instead, he chose to critique a simple anecdote that Kessler, a college economics teacher, had thrown out as mere illustration.
Nor did Barranda address the research and citations that Kessler used to back up his criticism of Barranda's economic-development policy.
For almost 30 years now, the watchwords of our foundation – The Indiana Policy Review – have been that those communities with the broadest range of options in the public discussion will be those communities that prosper. Fort Wayne, seemingly, will not be among them.
Marijuana penalties are ripe for review
More than 100 million people have tried marijuana; 35 million use it regularly. About 61 percent of Americans favor legalization; yet, Congress and most state legislatures have done nothing.
The “War on Drugs” has been a colossal failure. We've tried to arrest and prosecute ourselves out of it, to no avail. Fully 90-plus percent of all drug arrests are for simple possession of marijuana. Our prisons are full of people whose only crime was their like of the drug and being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
You can get five years in prison in Indiana for simple possession. There are more people in the criminal justice system in this country than any other in the world. The War on Drugs was declared by Richard M. Nixon more than 50 years ago, costing us more than $1 trillion dollars so far – 500 dollars a second, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is time in this era of budget cuts and economy that we stop this hemorrhaging of tax dollars for no apparent gain.
Study after study and several presidential reports have confirmed that marijuana is less harmful than tobacco or alcohol, that it is not a gateway drug and is not addictive. They also found in every study that it does not promote violence or antisocial behavior. To call for another study is a delaying tactic and dishonest.
People consistently vote to legalize the drug. Our Congress and legislatures are populated with plutocrats who have their own agenda, not those of their constituents. Any law that makes 35 million Americans criminals is despotic and plain wrong.
The government cannot lock up all 35 million people. They're satisfied with 50,000 a year. The only thing anybody can do to protect themselves from our government's unjust laws is to challenge the arrest in court. Get a jury trial for any marijuana arrest. Count on the fact that a majority of the people and the jury know the law is unreasonable.
In spite of predictions, the sky has not fallen in Colorado or other states that now have legal marijuana. They are reaping the benefits of new tax dollars, and they no longer have to arrest and prosecute people whose only crime does not hurt anyone else. It's time to have a rational discussion in Indiana and eliminate the draconian penalties for marijuana use.
Gaylen E. Twigg
CHEERS to Sharon Bryers and Norm Ley for their great fifth-year benefit for the Shepherd's House on Aug. 19. They worked hard all year long for this benefit, and every year it gets bigger and better. Thanks to all who attended and donated to this special cause. Hopefully, they will have repeated success in the coming years.
CHEERS to Chase Bank employees who volunteered their time and talents during United Way Day of Caring. This team was outstanding! The League for the Blind & Disabled never looked better for the consumers we serve.
David A. Nelson