▪ A kick in the pants to Jeff Sessions’ decision to nix the Obama rule that directed the Department of Justice to leave states alone if they decide to decriminalize and legalize marijuana.
Oregon, of course, is one of those states. And despite a bumpy beginning, legalization has gone relatively smoothly and continues to get smoother. It is bringing in millions of tax dollars, reducing the amount we spend on incarceration, and directing funding to those who become drug-addicted. It is being used by those who just turned 21 and the elderly, for health reasons and for recreation.
Marijuana is no longer a partisan issue. According to recent polling, about 50 percent of Republicans nationally favor legalizing the drug, and the number is higher for Republicans in states that have already legalized.
Sessions’ gambit (to distract from the president’s legal issues?) is poor policy and poor politics.
It’s also a good reminder that “states’ rights” isn’t really a conservative principle. It’s just something you say when you aren’t in power and making the rules, and something you discard as soon as you are.
▪ A tip of the hat and a walk into the sunset for local weather forecaster Dennis Hull.
Hull retired this week after 39 years with the National Weather Service, almost 20 of them in Pendleton. Over the decades, he’s watched snow fall and dust blow, heard thunder clap and watched over and interpreted thousands of maps and graphs.
He’s done it all as the technology around him has changed rapidly — from fold out papers that puttered in from far afield, to radar and digital forecasts that can measure to the microgram.
The Pendleton office of the National Weather Service is a beacon for the area — and a boon for area farmers, travelers and residents alike. Hull’s leadership and contributions to the organization are appreciated.
▪ A kick toward the pharmacy for everyone in the region who has yet had their flu shot.
As reported earlier this week, influenza cases have increased dramatically in the local area. Hospitals and doctors from Hermiston to Walla Walla are inundated with patients who have contracted mild and severe cases of the virus.
But luckily, there remains a way to reduce your chances of contracting it, and for reducing the effects of the flu if you do: A flu shot. It’s a simple and affordable (sometimes free depending on your insurance or at special events). And it does increase your chances of avoiding the flu, or at least lessening it.
If you don’t have a good excuse for not getting one, then do it. You’ll make yourself healthier and your community healthier, too.