YOUR SIDE: The Readers Take Over

Writer asks: Will Salem become a marijuana sanctuary city?

To the editor:

There are reasons why the County Sheriff, the Salem Chief of Police, the leading drug addiction authority in the county and one of Salem’s leading physicians have all publically expressed their strong opposition to having the city of Salem essentially turn into a sanctuary city for marijuana.

Whether it be so called “medical” marijuana today or full blown “recreational” marijuana in the future, nobody that knows very much about the subject favors it.

With the exception so far of just two city councilman and the mayor, Salem City Council seems hell-bent on introducing “medical” marijuana dispensaries into the city, despite the strong opposition of leading authorities on the subject. One councilman even had the audacity to suggest, via secret email, that the Chief of Police be fired for daring to publically speak his mind on the matter. Can you imagine such a reckless and unwarranted position by a city councilman?

And what about the drug dogs and their handler-officers that we have just authorized spending thousands of dollars in conjunction with our city’s drug interdiction program? Was this all an abject waste of taxpayer money and an affront to the Salem Community Foundation who generously contributed to this program? Let there be no doubt but that drug dogs cannot differentiate “medical” from “recreational” marijuana – they cannot.

As for the argument that “medical” marijuana would be of some sort of economic development value to Salem, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it would be a great detriment to economic development in Salem.

Ask any local employer, for instance, what percentage of potential new hires cannot pass a simple drug screen test. The answer will be somewhere north of 60 percent. And, because “medical” marijuana cannot be distinguished from “recreational” in a drug screen test — and both forms of pot can stay in one’s body for up to 45 days — what liability is there for maintaining a safe and “drug free” workplace, as defined by law, with “medical” marijuana being prescribed to our employees? It is a potentially huge liability.

Some have asserted that THC levels (hallucinogenic compounds) will allegedly be lower in “medical” marijuana. Well the law states that Ohio’s “medical” marijuana can contain THC at levels as high as 35 percent in the “plant” form and 75 percent in the “extract” form. That is high. And if you don’t think that even these levels can (and will) be tampered with, just look at what has happened in other states where this social experiment has been a disaster for everybody but the investors and the users, a very small percentage of which have any justifiable medical need for it.

One need only read the local newspapers to learn the extent to which Salem is being over run by an insidious, crime-prone drug culture, a culture that very much includes marijuana. If you don’t believe me, ask the police chief or the county sheriff or the judge of the county drug court.

So, I ask the citizens of Salem do we really want marijuana drug dispensaries polluting our town, perhaps right next to your local business or to a business at which you frequent? As all of the communities around Salem vote this down, will we become the “sanctuary city” for marijuana? Is this really what we want for our city? I would hope not.

David W. Johnson,



St. Paul 1962 graduate expresses gratitude

To the editor: As a proud member of the Saint Paul School Class of 1962, I’d like to mark the 55th anniversary of our graduation–and offer a sincere “thank you” to the SPS priests, nuns, lay teachers, staff and parishioners who positively influenced students’ lives.

Many in our Class of ’62 became achievers. One classmate earned an MD — and has probably scoped a number of local readers over the age of 55! Another became one of his nurses at Salem Regional Medical Center. Two classmates became attorneys. Three additional students attained doctorates for college teaching.

Several classmates earned credentials to become K-12 educators. One earned two master’s degrees and a Harvard doctorate before, ultimately, becoming superintendent of Salem City Schools.

We also had in our class successful business people –locally, at Cargill, and in Indiana. Our classmates included proud veterans of the armed forces, a farmer, a Lordstown GMer and an IT at ASU.

And many of our class carried out, perhaps, our society’s most essential vocations: they became good citizens, friends, spouses, and parents. Several still live in Salem and others reside within a short drive of our home town.

Today, 55 years after our 1962 graduation, we still have strong bonds, lasting friendships — and great memories. Most important, we have our faith. For all of these, we are grateful to St. Paul School in Salem.

This year, during the Wednesday children’s Mass each week, I enjoyed observing St. Paul staff and students. I watched a caring principal and teachers model appropriate behaviors and direct pupils with kindness and compassion. I heard young children read aloud difficult Scriptural passages. I saw kids and adults behave considerately toward each other. I marveled as the pastor conducted question-and-answer homilies, relating important lessons to everyone. And I witnessed older students sensitively assisting younger ones — indeed, I overheard one say to another, “It’s okay to cry; I cry all the time.”

So, thank you, St. Paul School, for making a difference in students’ lives for many years; clearly, the spirit of SPS lives on!




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