Five Minutes Five Issues: New York Marijuana, Trump’s Wall, Vaping Teens, Deportation Numbers, Heinlein Idea
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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.
Starting in five four three two one.
Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.
In the June 23 and August 4 episodes of Five Minutes Five Issues, I talked about developments toward recreational marijuana legalization in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo requested a study that concluded with recommending legalization. Then, the governor created a working group that worked with people including state legislative leaders and marijuana bill sponsors. The working group sought to advance the state legislature considering legalization legislation soon.
Here is an update. In a Monday speech outlining legislative priorities for the coming year, Governor Cuomo for the first time clearly stated that he supports legalization. Expect the state to legalize in 2019.
Neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut may legalize marijuana through the legislative process in 2019 as well. In New Jersey, the governor supports legalization and Assembly and Senate committees have approved a legalization bill, though a different bill will likely ultimately be enacted. And in Connecticut, the governor-elect has declared legalization is a priority for the upcoming legislative session.
In his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump said that when he became president Mexico would pay for a wall he would have built at the border between America and Mexico. As president, Trump continued to state this claim, though adding that Mexico may pay through a reimbursement. Then, in the last two weeks, Trump has been saying he will shut down the United States government if Congress does not allocate money to pay for that wall. On Tuesday, the situation became stranger, with the US State Department announcing 4.8 billion dollars in aid to Mexico. That is about the same amount Trump had been insisting Congress provide in wall funding to prevent a government shutdown.
There has been much fretting in the media about the US government’s new Monitoring the Future survey results indicating a significant increase in vaping of nicotine by American teenagers. The fretting is likely enhanced by the press release announcing the results being titled “National Adolescent Drug Trends in 2018: Vaping Surges” and that the three-page press release focuses mostly on nicotine vaping. Alcohol and other drugs besides nicotine and marijuana are not mentioned until the last page.
Over at Reason, Jacob Sullum suggests the increased vaping by teenagers should be celebrated, not fretted. Sullum writes that, “[o]n balance, the increase in e-cigarette use by teenagers is more likely to be a public health boon than a public health disaster.” He supports this conclusion by noting teenagers’ vaping has been increasing at the same time their smoking of much more dangerous ordinary tobacco cigarettes has decreased. To the extent teenagers who frequently vape “otherwise would be smoking,” writes Sullum, “it is more like a solution than a problem.” However, Sullum writes that this solution is being fought by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that continues to pile on e-cigarette restrictions that will drive both teenagers and adults to smoking instead.
President Donald Trump is known for being tough on illegal immigration. But, it turns out deportation numbers reached much higher under the administration of his predecessor Barack Obama. Lindsey Bever and Deanna Paul reported last week at the Washington Post that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) numbers show that in 2018 the US government deported over 256,000 people, compared to the over 409,000 people deported in 2012.
In Robert A. Heinlein’s novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, the character Bernardo de la Paz offers some creative suggestions for people seeking to set up a government on the moon after people on the moon had rebelled against control from Earth. Among his suggestions, all geared toward limiting government power, is considering having two legislative chambers, but with a twist. One chamber would be empowered to approve new laws, though only by a two-thirds majority vote. The other chamber would be empowered to repeal laws with just a one-third minority vote.
That’s a wrap.
Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.
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