The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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February 9, 2014

Readers' Forum 2-9 | Marijuana article raises questions

JOHNSTOWN — Current law classifies marijuana as a schedule 1 substance. Whether this ought to be changed seems to be the basic question. But should it be changed because it provides health benefits or changed to reduce criminal activity, reduce the criminal population and increase tax revenues?

Although it is presented as the former, I suspect the issue is the later.

While I am neither a pharmacist nor a  physician, it seems that two questions need to be answered:

-- If marijuana has pharmacological benefits, why haven’t the active compound(s) been identified and then offered in some type of known, controlled fashion – perhaps an inhaler?

-- The current primary means of introducing the active compounds is by smoking. I am unaware of any pharmaceutical introduced by smoking. Further, wouldn’t smoking create the same respiratory cancer risks as tobacco?

The recent articles in The Tribune-Democrat did not explore all aspects of this confusing issue. I would be interested to read a balanced summary.

Thomas Roberts


Term-limits conundrum

In the 1992 election, voters in 14 states overwhelmingly approved term limits for members of Congress. Even though limits won, all but a handful of incumbents were voted back into office. The return of incumbents despite the growing popularity of term limits is not as conflicting as it might seem.

The voters’ support of term limits is a clear indication of their disgust with the Washington establishment. But by retaining their congressmen, they also made it clear that until the rules of the game change, they’re going to take full advantage of the benefits the seniority of their legislator can bring to their district.

Some politicians appear shocked when we talk about term limits, but it’s not a new idea. William Penn wrote them into his Constitution 300 years ago. The Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 retained term limits to eliminate the danger of creating what the framers called “an inconvenient aristocracy.” It’s too bad we don’t have term limits today.

Instead, Pennsylvanians are stuck with an aristocracy in both Harrisburg and Washington. With few exceptions, when legislators become entrenched in office too long they lose touch with the folks back home, with their worries and hardships.

We need to change this, and the only way to change it is with term limits. It’s the only way we will be able to elect leaders who are more concerned about the general welfare than about their own welfare, more concerned about the next generation than the next election.

James M. Edwards Sr.


Be wary of in whom you place your trust

This is to all our House and Senate desecrates. I will make this short so you will understand.

If you like your job, you can keep your job, period. If you like your seat, you can keep your seat, period.

You can trust me. Do I sound like a person who would lie to you?

Warren Bircher



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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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