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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Western Opinion Sampler: Dealing with drugs (and guns) ...

A common thread wafting through many recent editorials:

Drug testing: Keeping help from the poor — Salt Lake Tribune EditorialIf the intent of Utah’s law requiring welfare applicants to submit to drug testing is to keep the program from helping those it was designed to help, then it seems to be working just fine. But there are problems with discouraging people down on their luck from applying for assistance through Utah’s Family Employment Program. The most obvious is the unfairness of requiring people who otherwise legally qualify for benefits to undergo the privacy invasion of drug testing. ...

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Agency tallies money saved due to aid-seekers declining to undergo screening — Tribune

Solving the problems at Pioneer Park — Deseret News Editorial... People who live and work around the park say they have noticed a sharp uptick in recent months in drug dealing. The truth of the matter is many of the homeless who frequent the park are homeless because of drug dependency. Drug dealers know that, and they will go to ply their trade where their customers are. The situation invites consideration of a high profile, full-court campaign of zero tolerance. Utah law allows for enhanced penalties for drug peddling in public parks. Strict and continuous enforcement of those statutes could make a difference. ...

Davis County Sheriff: Legalizing marijuana would harm society — Ogden Standard-ExaminerAs the pro-marijuana movement continues to gain national traction following an important concession from the Department of Justice, multiple local law enforcement agencies are adamant that enacting any measures to legalize the drug would mean treading down a dangerous path. ...

If Oregon marijuana legalization is inevitable, put someone like Barnhart in charge — Susan Nielsen | The Oregonian... Oregon lawmakers can’t just sit around and hope for the perpetual failure of ballot initiatives cooked up by Paul Stanford and other hard-core activists with financial or political agendas. They need to set the terms, or they will spend years trying to clean up the mess of a bad initiative. ...

From ‘Reefer Madness’ to reefer sanity? — EJ Montini | Arizona Republic

Not long ago if someone told Dennis Bohlke the federal government would help him get marijuana legalized in Arizona he’d have said, "Are you high?" "But," he added, "It happened. And it was great news. Maybe the country and our state will finally come to their senses." ...

Prison uncrowding — Tulsa World Editorial [This editorial doesn’t have the word "drugs" in it anywhere. But it should, because that’s what it is mostly about.]

Don’t let fear, rumors prevent vital immunization — Tacoma News Tribune Editorial [Even the drugs that nearly everyone is for can get a bad rap.]

Gun court in St. Louis is worth a try — St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial

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