Democratic Neshoba. February 17, 2022.
Editorial: Real Medical Marijuana?
A strong medical marijuana bill is what many local and state leaders have been demanding, so we can only hope that’s what SB 2095 is now that it’s in effect.
The marijuana problem has consumed an enormous amount of bandwidth, largely due to recreational users and the big-money lobby leading the charge.
Certainly, there are people in our state who will be significantly better off with access to doctor-prescribed doses of cannabis.
The pot lobby, however, demanded a recreational marijuana card that would have led to more people smoking weed with all the societal ills that casual use brings, including being a gateway to the heroin and other drugs that cause overdoses and even death.
Mitigating the risk of abuse is noble, but it is impossible and we will see where it leads.
Approval for Initiative 65 drops to around 40% when considering the number of registered voters statewide. So there was never a warrant.
The Marijuana to Vote Campaign was highly targeted to users in the digital age and should be a general warning about the influence of big bucks in future initiatives due to the incredible power of digitally targeting certain voters on their devices. .
Enshrining legalized marijuana in the state Constitution isn’t what most Mississippians thought they were voting for in November, but it’s what Initiative 65 would have done.
Again, there is a warning.
The bill the governor signed is not the one he or most of us would have written, but that’s where we are and it’s the law now.
Significant improvements in around the 50th draft have been made, giving more local control of marijuana cultivation and dispensaries, but will that be enough?
Signing the bill — and a law can be amended or modified unlike the Constitutional amendment which would have enshrined pot as a right — Governor Tate Reeves listed a small sample of the improvements he and others fought for to include in the final version of the bill. These improvements included:
• Reduced the total amount an individual can receive to 3 oz. per month. This change alone will reduce the total amount by 40% compared to the original version (I asked for 50%). In other words, there will be hundreds of millions fewer joints on the streets because of this improvement.
• The health professional can only prescribe in the context of his practice. And they must have a relationship with the patient. And it requires an in-person visit from the patient to the medical professional.
• Only an MD or DO can prescribe for children under 18 and only with the consent of a parent/legal guardian.
• An MD or DO should prescribe for young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.
• The MSDH will promulgate rules regarding packaging and advertising, and I trust that it will do so in a way that limits the impact on our young people.
• Prohibits any inducement for industry from the Mississippi Development Authority.
• Protect our churches and schools from having a marijuana dispensary within 1,000 feet of their location.
Rep. Jill Ford, a Republican from Madison, had sponsored her own bill with a slower approach, but it never made it back to the House.
“My bill would have taken a slower approach than the Senate bill. It was a real medical marijuana program,” Ford said.
Sen. Jenifer Branning, a Republican from Philadelphia, said her concern was one of public safety and health and that she, like Ford in the House, did not vote for the bill.
Real medical marijuana law is what we want to be as a state and it’s good to know that we still have elected officials who support the need but understand the dangers and prefer a slower approach that deals with safety and of public health.
Commonwealth of Greenwood. February 18, 2022.
Editorial: A Comparison of Violent Crime
Everyone talks about the increase in crime. It’s certainly increased in some places — like Jackson, the Mississippi capital that struggles with one of the highest per capita homicide rates in the nation.
Information for 2021 is not yet available, but a graph on the TheWhyAxis website convincingly shows that violent crime rates in 1980 and 1994 were much worse than today.
The table is based on information from the Federal Office for Juvenile Justice and Crime Prevention. It tracks the ages of those arrested for violent crimes – murder, “negligent” manslaughter, robbery and aggravated assault – in 1980, 1994 and 2019. It eliminates population differences by measuring arrests per 100,000 people.
There are obvious trends:
– There were significantly fewer people between the ages of 12 and 63 arrested for violent crimes in 2019 than in the previous two years. It’s not even close. Even though there has been an increase in violent crime since 2019, the country is unlikely to come close to the number of arrests in 1980 – and today’s rates are a far cry from those in 1994.
– 1994 was a busy time for law enforcement. The number of violent crime arrests that year is shocking. This helps explain why Congress and states have passed all sorts of laws in this decade, such as truth-in-conviction laws, to lock up more offenders and keep them locked up longer. The country had a serious problem with violent crime, but the backlash that followed produced its own headaches because harsher sentencing laws in some places, including Mississippi, targeted all crimes, not just violent ones. . This drove the costs of incarceration to an unsustainable level, depopulated low-income neighborhoods of adult men, and placed more emphasis on punishment than rehabilitation. Mississippi and much of the rest of the country have spent the past few years trying to reverse that earlier overreaction.
– 2019 is also different from the other two years in terms of the age of those arrested for violent crimes. The story quotes an official from the Sentencing Project, who noted that in 1980 and 1994, arrests for violent crimes were highest among 18-year-olds. But in 2019, the peak is between 25 and 27 years old. That’s partly because in 2019, there were far fewer 18-year-olds arrested for a violent crime. Still, given that much of violent crime in the United States tends to be “young man’s play,” as TheWhyAxis put it, a rising age spike is troubling.
– Another item of note is an increase in violent crime in 2019 among people in their 50s and 60s. This is a far smaller number of cases than those in which teenagers and young people aged 20 and over are arrested. But the arrest rate for people aged 50 and over was lowest in 1980, second lowest in 1994 and highest in 2019.
Arrest rates for violent crimes in 2019 for people aged 30 to 45 were also higher than in 1980. Sociologists and criminologists could spend a field day explaining this kind of information.
That’s certainly not the definitive word on crime rates in 2022. For one thing, what about cases where no one has been arrested? And the table excludes non-violent crimes such as burglaries.
There is no doubt that, despite the statistics, people are worried about crime. This is a good argument against defunding the police. Freedom means nothing without security.