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Cary Brunswick

November 13, 2012

U.S. inches closer to edge of 'fiscal cliff'


The budget cuts, the result of the previous failures of the White House and Congress to reach agreement on trimming the national debt and revamping taxes, would be painful in many corners and there is plenty of pressure for compromise.

We’re talking about a 9 percent or $55 billion cut in defense spending and another $55 billion in cuts to domestic programs.

Any deal in Washington is sure to soften the blow of these cuts, and it is important that it be directed at those most in need.

Now that voters in Colorado and Washington state have legalized marijuana use, it is time for New York state to move forward and legitimize medical marijuana use as a first step to legalization.

The ballot measures allow adults 21 or older to possess up to an ounce of pot. In Colorado, adults can have up to six marijuana plants. Of course, the laws don’t mean people can walk down streets smoking joints and pipes. Use in public remains illegal, just as most alcohol laws forbid having open containers in public.

Both states plan to pursue regulations governing the commercial sale of marijuana, with resultant tax revenues going to state programs such as school construction and health initiatives.

According to NORML, a national organization dedicated to reforming marijuana laws, more than 20 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana offenses since 1965. The group insists the time has come to amend criminal prohibition and replace it with a system of legalization, taxation, regulation and education.

Now, Gaia, a Colorado-based medical-marijuana manufacturer and seller, has hired an Albany PR firm to get the ball rolling more quickly in New York. Last week, Massachusetts became the 18th state to approve the use of pot for medical reasons. New York is surrounded by other such states: New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

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Cary Brunswick

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