Weatherford Democrat

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June 23, 2013

NOW HEAR THIS: Attempting to legislate morality

By LARRY M. JONES

From what I’ve read, the Texas Legislature finally passed a watered-down bill requiring some applicants for unemployment benefits to pass a drug screening. However, according to the same reports, Democrats were able to block this testing from being also applied to welfare recipients. This has been an ongoing battle for several months although, for the life of me, I cannot see the problem.

Throughout my career in the Navy, I was randomly selected, along with everyone else from seaman recruit to admiral, to undergo random urinalysis testing for drug use. Since I never used drugs, I never saw a problem with this requirement. If I’m going to be humming along at 30,000 feet going several hundred miles per hour, I’d prefer to be fairly certain that a pot smoker or crackhead hadn’t performed the latest repairs on my trusty flying machine.

Last Sunday, my son and granddaughter dropped in for a little Father’s Day visit, and somehow we got onto the subject of marijuana laws and how many states were decriminalizing its possession and use. He has a slightly different perspective on the subject than me because he is a probation officer for the Tarrant County Judicial District, where a lion’s share of his workload is drug related. He sees recreational marijuana use as being far less of a problem to society than alcohol abuse. While I hate to admit it, he’s probably right. Still, here in Texas for the time being, alcohol is legal and marijuana is not.

I did a little research on the subject, and I found that about 21 percent of all inmates currently incarcerated in state or local facilities are there for drug-related offenses. 56 percent of all federal inmates are there because of drugs. God only knows how many of them were convicted of other offenses perpetrated to support a drug habit.

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The City of Weatherford is considering an ordinance that would ban smoking inside restaurants and enclosed areas where food is prepared, sold or consumed. Do you agree with this proposal?

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