Deaths from opioid overdose, including heroin and pharmaceutical narcotics, have been reduced dramatically in states where access to medical marijuana is legal.
The Journal of the American Medical Association, in an article headlined, “Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Analgesic Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1999-2010,” published online on Aug. 25, 2014, and in the October 2014 print edition, reports that states with legal medical marijuana have experienced a reduction of 20 percent to 33 percent in deaths from opioid overdose.
The longer medical marijuana has been available, the greater the reduction in overdose death. Access to medical marijuana greatly reduces the need for narcotic painkillers.
If our goal is to reduce such deaths, we should make marijuana available for medical use in Missouri as soon as possible.
Johnson County recently raised its property tax rates in a move endorsed by The Kansas City Star.
I agree with The Star that Johnson County has great services and support improving them. I even am not opposed to a tax increase, because you get what you pay for.
However, I would have liked to know just how much money Johnson County has given to businesses in the form of tax breaks, delayed or deferred taxes or any other incentive for businesses to locate or develop in the county over the past 10 years.
All those incentives reduce what businesses have to pay and must be made up from somewhere. Guess where?
It’s a zero sum game. If some taxpayers don’t pay, other taxpayers do.
And if you believe that the county gains more than it loses, consider who is telling you that — businesses and the politicians to whom they contribute.
It seems that if that sort of increased prosperity were true, the increased revenue should preclude or limit the requirements for tax increases. Yet it never does.
The county seldom asks businesses to pay. It asks, and sometimes doesn’t even ask, you.
Missouri needs a right-to-work law. Workers need to have a choice to opt out of forced union dues.
The first 45 years unions existed, union dues were non-compulsory. In 1935, the National Labor Relations Act changed all of that freedom.
Right-to-work laws bring jobs to a state. The numbers do not lie.
According to the National Association of Manufacturers (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics), between January 2014 and January 2015, Michigan and Indiana were No. 1 and No. 2 in manufacturing job growth. Michigan added 24,900 manufacturing employees over the 13-month period from January 2014 to January 2015. Indiana was up 17,800.
Both states adopted right-to-work laws in the last two years, long enough to resonate results.
The Missouri General Assembly should work hard to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of right-to-work so Missouri can draw industry to this state.
Islamic State battle
How absurd it seems to wage war and at the same time suffer angst so profusely over “collateral damage.”
Not that collateral damage shouldn’t be considered, but fighting the Islamic State and other savage movements that are embedded among civilians makes it virtually impossible to win in combat if the main object is to “do no harm.”
The news media eagerly report the number of civilian casualties, and it would be heartless to ignore those deaths. But if our military’s hands are tied while our enemies are willing to lop off heads of the innocent, do suicide bombing and cause unimaginable suffering, how are we to respond?
War is all kinds of hell, but let’s not forget that these men and women as Islamic terrorists will, if allowed to flourish, simply grow in power and become a greater threat to the free world. You can believe they would relish the opportunity to bring you, your children and anyone you love to a merciless and painful death.
It is time for the U.S. to spare no effort to annihilate these animals and put as much pressure as possible on our allies to do the same.
Among all the legislation Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed this year, I pray that our state legislature has the wisdom to not override HB 722.
HB 722 would effectively strip local governments of their power to build on state minimums for certain labor and environmental standards. It was wisely vetoed but is at risk of being overturned this month.
Many state officials belabor how difficult it can be to connect to their constituents, given the size of the areas they represent. Local officials work for the people who live and work in the same community as they do. If a citizen has a problem or a concern, it is usually best resolved by another member of the community.
To say that local governments have no right to build on state minimums to protect the welfare of their citizens is an outrage. Communities, unswayed by the special corporate interests that often find influence in Jefferson City, want to do more than the minimum.
In my faith tradition, we are called to go above and beyond for our neighbors. Our state legislature should let local governments do the same and support the veto of HB 722.
The calamity of death from violence and war will not be eliminated until the burden of stupidity about religion is lifted from the shoulders of mankind.
War machines and platitudes will not end this suffering.
Education is the only solution.
About Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, honestly, does the man not own a mirror? He needs to re-evaluate what “ugly” looks like.
Iran nuclear deal
President Barack Obama has been in the press, attempting to garner support for his Iran nuclear deal. He is using his normal tactic of attacking any detractors. It gives the appearance that what he is trying to sell has no merits and can only be defended by attacking those who oppose it.
This is not a new tactic. He used this same approach for Affordable Care Act, the Iraq withdrawal, Afghanistan and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
If anything can be said for President Obama it is that he is consistent. He attacks everybody who opposes his will. Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, conservatives, liberals, Christians, agnostics and atheists all have borne the brunt of Obama’s wrath.
My advice to President Obama is to sell things on their merits, not on how he feels about his opponents. If it can’t stand on its own merits, maybe it shouldn’t be sold.
Local political control
The concept of federalism as a means of organizing our political society rests on the premise that decisions are made best at the local level. It’s a philosophy that recognizes government overreach is anathema to democracy.
Policy ideas and changes are supposed to move from the bottom up, not the other way around. Our political system is set up in such a way that states can serve as laboratories where new policies are tested before being adopted at the national level.
Similarly, our local communities can serve as laboratories for policies before they are enacted at the state level.
I am incensed that our state legislature is contemplating a bill that would take away our right to enact policies specific to our cities. HB 722 would prevent municipalities from passing legislation that bans plastic bags. It also would block municipalities from passing their own minimum-wage laws.
Each community is different, and we need to be able to make policy decisions tailored to our local communities. HB 722 takes away that right.
It completely contradicts the fundamental principles of our democratic system.