How Much Marijuana?
On the matter of just how much cannabis Vermonters can possess at any one time as a result of Act 86, your staff may have possibly been overindulging when they researched the issue for your "Puff Piece" [June 27].
Section 3, Part 6, which outlines the new legal possession limits, states that "The amounts of marijuana in this subsection shall not include marijuana cultivated, harvested, and stored in accordance with section 4230e of this title."
Translation: Yes, there is a one-ounce limit, but that limit only refers to the amount an individual is allowed to have on his or her person at any one time while out and about. At home, one can possess and keep as much cannabis as one can grow within the allowed four-immature-and-two-mature-plants-at-one-time limits. In the privacy of one's abode, there are no quantity restrictions as long as it's all homegrown.
Seven Days should clear the air and correct this error so that readers get the accurate buzz on Act 86 and don't become paranoid about their newly legal stashes.
Health Care's Odd Economics
"Overcompensating?" [June 20] highlights the dramatically higher salaries paid to those in health care compared to everyone else.
I believe the issue of excess in health care is ill served by present explanations and that it is necessary to ignore what everybody "knows" in order to understand, and then control, the phenomenon.
Trapped in the belief that "private" means "market," economists continue to assume that health care is a market activity subject to the tempering influence of competing interests. They explain the relentless rise in health care spending by zeroing in on the inevitable costs intrinsic to health care itself.
Looked at another way, health care — and all other collectively funded and indirectly paid activities — long ago parted company from the market. The rapidly rising costs which economists focus on are largely the result, not the cause, of the inflationary syndrome.
Health care involves inherently aggrandizing (not economizing) activities in which the built-in incentives, behaviors and outcomes are the reverse of those in the market. It is the prime example of a syndrome shared with all other collectively funded, indirectly paid activities, including higher education, military procurement and infrastructure development. Lacking separate institutional recognition, all exhibit rampant inflation and cost overruns.
If we understand health care excess as an inflationary consequence of the method of payment, the need for a fiscal solution becomes clear. Single payer, inherently equipped with a global budget ceiling, is such a solution. It puts fiscal limits on the serially stimulated price increases that fuel the inflationary syndrome. It enables the kind of institutional checks and balances that the market and the state already enjoy and could not function without.
Thank You, Jennifer
[Re Off Message: "Magnolia Bistro Owner's Facebook Post Sparks Calls for Boycott," June 18]: I want to applaud Jennifer M. Fredette for her sheer courage in coming forth to address the ignorance that still surrounds opiate addiction [Feedback: "Addicts Are Everywhere," June 27]. My sons, Dennis and Sean, were highly functioning employees who were held in the highest esteem by both family and coworkers when they both died from an overdose of pure fentanyl.
It is only in the wake of their deaths that I have educated myself on this crisis, and I have discovered that so many suffer from this affliction and manage to hide it so well. They are your neighbors, friends, family, doctors, lawyers, etc. It is likely that Magnolia Bistro owner Shannon Reilly knows someone who may be suffering in silence and now is afraid to seek his help, given his public opinion on the subject. I wish with all my heart that my sons had reached out to me and that my ignorance wasn't "cured" with their deaths.
Jennifer, you are not dumb. You are one of the brave survivors who will shed light on this issue and show the public that addiction is a condition that needs understanding.
Stay strong. I hope you continue your recovery and that you reach out to others despite the opinion of one of the remaining people who have not yet educated themselves on the depths of this crisis.
Another Form of Child Abuse
U.S. Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) did not have to travel to the Mexican border to see government-sponsored child abuse [Fair Game, June 20]. He can see it right here in Vermont.
Facts provided by the U.S. Air Force show that 2,000 takeoffs each year for the past 10 years with the F-16 afterburner blasting have been abusing children in 963 families living in the Chamberlin School neighborhood of South Burlington.
The Air Force Environmental Impact Statement says children exposed to such high aircraft noise levels suffer impaired "central processing and language comprehension, such as reading, attention, problem solving, and memory." The Air Force further says that "Chronic exposure of first- and second-grade children to aircraft noise can result in reading deficits and impaired speech perception." Children exposed to such noise have "more difficulty solving cognitive problems" and more difficulty with "puzzle-solving and attentiveness."
The Air Force concludes: "There is increasing awareness that chronic exposure to high aircraft noise levels may impair learning. This awareness has led the World Health Organization and a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) working group to conclude that daycare centers and schools should not be located near major sources of noise, such as highways, airports and industrial sites."
The Air Force says children in an additional 2,000 families in Winooski, Burlington and Williston will be so abused when the four-times-louder F-35 arrives. What is Welch doing to stop that government-sponsored child abuse right here in Vermont?
James Marc Leas