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Cary Brunswick

January 7, 2014

I'm pleasantly surprised by Pope Francis

(Continued)

For, in reality and not in fantasy, Francis has shown that he clearly comes out of the Latin American tradition of liberation theology in speaking out with humility about the church serving the poor and helping create more just and tolerant societies.

He has been captivating Catholics and non-Catholics alike, and even lawmakers in Washington, with his concerns about poverty and violence.

After asking “what is happening in the heart of humanity’’ in his New Year’s message, the pope said people must face “the violence and injustices present in so many parts of the world, and which cannot leave us indifferent and immobile. There is the need for the commitment of all to build a society that is truly more just and united.’’

The world’s leaders and the opponents of those leaders need to listen.

 •••

It is about time New York joined the states that have legalized the medical use of marijuana, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week is expected to take a big step in making that happen.

The governor plans to use his executive powers to permit some hospitals to dispense marijuana for certain sicknesses. He is bypassing the Legislature because it not likely a medicinal marijuana bill would make it through the Republican-controlled Senate.

Cuomo is expected to unveil his plan during his State of the State speech Wednesday. New York would become the 21st state to allow pot to be available for medicinal purposes. The other states generally permit the prescribing of marijuana for chronic pain, nausea from chemotherapy, glaucoma and some other conditions.

Cuomo has previously opposed medical marijuana, but after complete legalization was approved in Colorado and Washington state, the national trend is heading toward acceptance of pot not only for medical reasons but also for recreational use.

Marijuana would remain illegal in New York, but possession of small amounts has been reduced to a low-level violation subject to a fine.

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Cary Brunswick

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