Their view

Looking for compromise and budget solutions

By George “Tim” Clendenen - Contributing columnist

When reading the legislative update from Delegate Butler, in the Point Pleasant Register on 2/14/2017 and 3/4/2017, he continues to blame President Obama and the extreme regulations put on coal by EPA as reason for our state money problems. I agree this is a large part, however he does not mention that cheap natural gas has caused a drop in demand for coal and that we are not exporting coal to other countries like in the past. I think Delegate Butler should stop the blame game and help come up with some solutions. Last year the legislature, House and Senate were controlled by Delegate Butlers’ party, and put the budget issue off to the end of the regular session and had to call a special session, which cost the taxpayers over $600,000.

Now the Republican Party wants to cut just about everything and the Democratic Governor wants to tax everything. Both parties are not for cutting salaries of elected officials and appointed positions to help with the budget. If both sides would compromise, we could take care of the states’ money problems easily. With two proposals, number one, put the 6 percent tax back on food, it should have never been removed in the first place. Political reasons (votes) was the reason it was removed. Now for the same reasons the elected officials are afraid to put it back. It is a fair tax everyone would have to pay, not certain groups. The number two proposal is to bring back a bill for the legalization of the medicinal use of marijuana to be put on the ballot for the voters of WV to decide. With taxes from medicinal marijuana and new jobs created and the tax on food several millions could be brought into the state.

A member of the legislature told me he was informed that the Speaker of the House and Governor Justice would not support a marijuana bill. How many lives has whiskey ruined? I am sure that the Greenbrier Resort serves alcohol.

The following information was taken from AARP Bulletin Jan-Feb 2017:

“Voters in California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine approved the recreational use of marijuana on election day. Voters in Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Montana backed proposals on medicinal use, marking a sweeping referendum in favor of marijuana use. Only voters in Arizona by a narrow margin, rejected an effort to expand legal use of the drug.

While marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, it is now lawful for recreational use in eight states, plus the District of Columbia and for medicinal use in 29 states, plus D.C.

Nationwide, 89 percent of people think marijuana should be allowed for medicinal use, according to a fall 2016 Gallup poll. The reason, the Mayo Clinic says marijuana, has possible benefits for those with chronic pain, epilepsy and seizures, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, nausea related to cancer treatments and several other maladies.”

An American Legion magazine article from last year told about a veteran suffering from PTSD and how he used marijuana instead of the prescription pills the Veterans’ Administration (V.A.) gave him. He said on the pills, he walked around like a zombie and still had issues with stress and losing his temper. He quit taking the pills, felt better, and was able to better manage his stress and anger issues. In a later issue, there was an article about the US Senate passing a bill, where the V.A. could talk to veterans about marijuana in states where it was legal. West Virginia has always had a high percentage of veterans in our population. Should our veterans not have a chance for improving their health like veterans in other states?

The same thing applies to people who suffer from chronic pain. A woman in Maine, who had been on pain medications for several years after a wreck went through seizures and convulsions getting off the pills. With marijuana she felt better and not like a zombie.

Maine is also working on a program using marijuana to help get people off heroin. In WV, people can use heroin and get free needles without any penalty, but cannot use medicinal marijuana. That makes no sense!

Big pharmaceutical companies do not want to hear about people getting off pain pills, so they spend big money to lobby our elected officials. Their lobbying seems to have paid off. The Federal Drug Administration keeps marijuana in the same class of drugs with heroin with no medicinal use. At the same time they give pharmaceuticals permission to market a stronger drug than Hydrocodone and Oxycodone after all the problems with overdoses and addictions they have caused. Our heroin problems were caused by legal pain pills not by marijuana. If the drug companies had control of marijuana it would have been legalized years ago.

Smoking marijuana could be cancer inducing to the lungs just like tobacco, but marijuana can be put in edibles, drinks, vapor form, oils and pill form. It could be used just like any medicine. Look at the paperwork when you get medicine or watch the ads on T.V. all medicines have bad side effects.

To ministers and their followers who are opposed, I say that God made marijuana not man. He put this herb here for a reason.

A famous country singer said he had a bad drinking problem, so he quit, but he still smoked marijuana to relax. What is the difference of him doing that and people going to the doctor to get their valiums?

Citizens need to text or call the Governor, Speaker of the House Tim Armstead, their local delegate, Senate President Mitch Carmichael, or their local state senator to support these 2 proposals and get WV on the road to recovery.

George “Tim” Clendenen

Point Pleasant

Looking for compromise and budget solutions

By George “Tim” Clendenen

Contributing columnist