Studying medical marijuana

Gov. Kay Ivey this week signed into law Florence Republican Sen. Tim Melson’s bill creating a commission to study medical marijuana and make recommendations next year to the Legislature.

Melson had wanted to go further, introducing originally a bill that would have made marijuana use legal in the state for certain medical conditions, provided the patient had a prescription from a licensed health professional.

The Senate approved that broader measure, but it ran into opposition in the state House.

This compromise is a modest step forward, but hopefully the commission can compile enough information to allay the fears of lawmakers.

As other states loosen restrictions on marijuana use, it is increasingly callous for the state of Alabama to make criminals out of people merely seeking relief for chronic medical ailments. Ivey took her time, but in signing the marijuana commission bill into law, she did the right thing.

Online sales tax revenue

The Morgan County Commission is still complaining about losing online sales tax revenue to schools and volunteer fire departments, even though it should have been sharing that revenue all along anyway. The lost revenue has commission members, including Chairman Ray Long, saying it will be difficult for the commission to help fund the downtown parking garage that, earlier this year, Long was saying was desperately needed.

But for all the hemming and hawing, the commission this week did agree to spend $10,000 to help the city of Decatur pay for a $25,000 parking study to see if a parking garage is really worth the money.

A previous study said it wasn’t, but that was before the Cook Museum of Natural Science came along.

We hope now that the study gets done and puts the question to rest once and for all. And if the study finds a downtown parking garage is merited, the County Commission should help foot the bill. Parking in downtown Decatur isn’t just a city issue, but a county issue.

No doubt some commissioners will plead poverty when the time comes, but that’s no excuse. You can’t skimp just because you’re no longer getting money you shouldn’t have been keeping to yourself in the first place.

Women athletes’ pay

The U.S. women’s national soccer team began its title defense this week with a 13-0 thumping of Thailand in the Women’s World Cup in France.

That has reignited the debate about pay equity. The U.S. women’s team players make far less money than their male counterparts, who are coming off an embarrassing 0-3 loss to lowly Venezuela in a game that fortunately didn’t count but is hardly a harbinger of good things to come as the U.S. men begin Gold Cup play next week.

On one level, the pay debate misses the point. What athletes make is about viewers, endorsement deals and the like, not the numbers on the scoreboard.

On the other hand, the U.S. women would make more money if they got the viewership and sponsorships the men do. And right now they’re certainly doing more to put a product on the soccer pitch worth watching.

They deserve audience support.
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