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SANTA FE, N.M. — Medical Pot Gives Quality of Life

I commend the Journal for its statement on employment rights for medical marijuana patients in New Mexico, in Saturday’s paper. I especially like the editorial board’s suggestion to keep in mind that “the goal of medical treatment is to give a patient a quality of life, up to and including the ability to be a productive member of society.”

People who use marijuana to treat their symptoms should be treated equally to those who use pharmaceutical drugs. It is critically important to give people the opportunity to work and support themselves and not discriminate against them for the medicine they use. It is time for employers to recognize a patient’s right to choose the medicine that works for them. Dismissal from your job for testing positive for your prescribed medicine is simply wrong.


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Drug Policy Alliance

Santa Fe

Will Government Protect Wildlife?

The stalemate between Democratic and Republican politicians is not all bad. Lost in the partisan fighting was an attempt by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), a rancher from Montana, to overrule federal regulations barring importation of polar bear trophies and to open up all federal land to hunting. Tester’s bill was a counterpart to a House bill pushed by New Mexico Rep. Martin Heinrich, who bragged about his support for hunters during his election campaign. Had the Tester-Heinrich bill been law during the recent notorious coyote killing spree, federal land managers would not have been able to stop the hunters from extending this so-called sport to national forests.

Stone-age hunters used to literally drive wildlife off cliffs, leading to the extinction of mammoths and other wild animals. Now that technology has advanced from Clovis points to high-powered rifles, hunters continue to drive coyotes, polar bears, grizzly bears, and wolves figuratively off a cliff. The Journal on Wednesday reported two of the latest dangers to wildlife: a court ruling against an effort to ban trapping in Mexican wolf reintroduction areas and a federal proposal to allow grizzly bear hunting.

The Journal notes that the endangered lesser prairie chicken must compete with ranchers on 85 percent of its habitat. Yet the national conservation lobbies supported the reelection campaign of rancher Sen. Tester, in spite of his record of ending endangered species protection for wolves. Rep. Heinrich will now join him in the Senate, thanks to the support of both national and New Mexico conservation lobbies. Until the conservation lobbies stand up to hunters and ranchers, what can we expect the government to do to protect wildlife?



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Santa Fe

Don’t Let Obama Become Dictator

If Congress gives this president, or any president, the exclusive power to raise the national debt ceiling, then our republic will have become a dictatorship. And the esteemed members of the House and Senate might as well pack their bags and go home because their only duty will be to rubber-stamp whatever the executive proposes.

French historian Alexis De Toqueville observed in the mid 1800s that the American republic would survive “until the day the Congress discovers it can bribe the people with the people’s money.” Sadly that day came and went long ago, but it is inconceivable that even in our entitlement society we would cede control of the government’s budget to one politician. Or is it?


Santa Fe

Marriage About Inheritance

On Friday, Dec. 7, Tom Riedel wrote a commentary correctly beginning, “secular society’s interest in marriage is not to acknowledge love” but then goes on to a complete misunderstanding of secular society’s true interest in marriage — which is inheritance and inheritance only.

The issue goes back to the formation of stable monarchies and the concept of state laws, ensuring inheritance for the crown and the landed gentry and avoiding costly civil wars. The concern was defining who is a legal heir. With religion then being conflated with the state, religiously approved marriages set the standard. As societies evolved, civil marriage gradually became the state’s preferred method of determining proper inheritors, while maintaining recognition of religious marriage.

While the state certainly maintains an interest in a viable population, it has no particular reason to concern itself greatly about the differences between procreation, adoption and immigration, as has been evidenced for many decades, if not centuries, now.

It follows that, whatever concerns particular religions have, our secular states have no civil reason to distinguish between conventional and gay or lesbian couples. Of course, thanks to our Constitution, neither can the state require religions to recognize such marriages. That strikes me as very much consistent with liberty and the pursuit of happiness.


Los Alamos