Too much real news for one to handle

Published 11:12 am Monday, May 22, 2017

As my deadline neared for this monthly column, I became more and more anxious about finding something worthwhile to write about.

This angst wasn’t caused by a lack of current events. Indeed, it was caused by the tidal surge of important news events — local, state, national and international.

Locally, the issue of medical marijuana dispensaries was the hot topic, and like any real estate decision, the subject was location, location, location. Sites considered that I read about included the old post office building, one of the nicest buildings downtown, which should not be confused with the Washington, D.C., Trump International Hotel in the other Old Post Office Building.

There was also a plan to designate the Wayne Street corridor, with its rusted out factories running block after block that gives blight a whole new meaning. There was a buzz about the Niles Industrial Park as a future site, too.

Then, as I write this, I find that the Michigan Secretary of State’s election division has approved ballot proposal language for a November 2018 referendum on legalizing recreational marijuana, assuming that enough signatures will be gathered in time.

Niles and Michigan are slowly going to pot. Before a dispensary site is selected for the marketing of medical marijuana, recreational marijuana could become legal.

You could end up buying reefer in the worst part of town.

On the other hand, with the events continually unfolding in Washington at head-spinning speed, this may be as good a time as any to legalize weed.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump simultaneously fired the FBI Director while he shared top secret documents prepared by Israeli intelligence with the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador, right in the Oval Office.

Counting other White House shenanigans in mid-May, there is enough bad karma at 1600 Pennsylvania to warrant calls for impeachment of, or resignation by, the president.

So what does the president do?  With a big black cloud hovering over his presidency like a loaded drone, he goes off on an eight-day, five-country trip that will give him quality face time with the Saudi King, Pope Francis, and both Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Then it’s off to the NATO summit in Belgium and the G-7 conference back in Italy.

What possibly could go wrong?

A native of Niles, Jack Strayer moved back home in 2009 after living and working in Washington DC since 1976. Strayer has served as a congressional staffer, state legislative press secretary, federal registered lobbyist and Vice President of the National Center for Policy Analysis. He is a nationally recognized expert on federal health policy reform and led the fight for the enactment of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).