TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Pull Your Head Out Of Your Grass!

North Dakota has some unusual situations involving marijuana. On the one hand, the people voted to legalize it for medicinal purposes. After more than a year, the Legislature (that didn’t support the legislation) is still studying the issue.

What legislators and the Health Department tasked with implementing the law are using for brains is beyond me. Men, women and children of all ages suffer debilitating pain and other horrible symptoms from a host of terrible diseases and conditions that may be eased by medical marijuana products. There is no lack of studies that show the positive effects of medical use. Yet North Dakota is still taking its time in carrying out the people’s wishes.

Perhaps if those in charge of implementing the law had to care for someone in need of that relief for just a day or two, that law — passed by 64 percent of voters in 2016 — would already be in effect. In reality, a spokesman has estimated it could be in place by the end of 2018.

As the politicians are frozen in place in implementing an actual need, others with dollar bills ringing in their heads are petitioning North Dakota to legalize the social use of marijuana. In my humble opinion, that is one bad idea.

We already have legal sales of alcohol killing enough people. Legal alcohol condemns many to the disease of alcoholism. In a perfect world, those statistics would lead to totally banning its sale. But this is not a perfect world.

If people could not abuse alcohol, that would be good. At least, you do have to be 21 to purchase it — notwithstanding that the use starts in the early teens in far too many people.

But I digress. If marijuana (hereinafter referred to as MJ) is legalized, you can look for a lot more problems involving abuse and impairment. Yes, some states have legalized it, but no one is publicizing any adverse effects.

The adult world sets the standard for what is acceptable in mood-altering substances. So far, they simply suck at what they do.

If ever there was a time when we need positive role models for both children and adults, it is now. Standards for what is acceptable have dropped to an absolute minimum, as evidenced by the happenings in our federal government. (By the way, I face difficulty in finding material to criticize on the Minnesota side, but sure have no problem in North Dakota and at the federal level.)

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Here in Fargo, a task force has been appointed to consider changing the way we vote on city commissioners, as well as adding more members to the board. Its recommendations included increasing the size of the commission, a suggestion with which I totally agree, and changing the way we vote, which I’m not sure about.

One commissioner suggested the proposal to increase the number is a solution looking for a problem. He hasn’t heard any complaints. That’s a fair assessment, except but for one thing! After the task force came to its conclusions, the city — instead of conducting a citywide poll to get a read on public opinion — simply told the supporters to do it by petition if they felt that strongly about it.

Perhaps we might study the issue of open minds in city government. The commission and Civil Service Commission both seem to rubber-stamp whatever complaints that the city departments submit to them — i.e., the case of David Boelke, who finally got his name cleared this week by the North Dakota Police Officer Standards and Training Board with no assistance from either group, as well as the case of a former chief of police. (There are other examples, but this is not a research article.)

Every once in a while, I think there should be a city oversight group that might monitor board activities. When they find a potential problem, they should submit a report and hope it is acted upon.

Fargo is a great city, a wonderful place to live with wonderful resources — but politically at the both the local and state levels, they ought to be listening and acting. When someone tells us they “haven’t heard of any problems,” it begs the question: Did you ask? Amen.

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