Editorial roundup

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Nov. 6

Last Tuesday’s rebuke of Issue 3 across Ohio put the issue of a marijuana monopoly in its place. But the burning question of whether weed should be legalized, at least in some form, was never answered.

That likely means more ballot issues. But to have a full debate on this important topic, the Ohio legislature needs to act and, for a start, hold hearings on medical marijuana and whether it should be legalized in Ohio …

The legislature must now provide what Issue 3 didn’t: a comprehensive examination of all the factors that should be considered before legalizing marijuana, including all the health concerns – good and bad – from any legalization measure, and extending to the added exposure to children, and the effect on the crime …

It may be that the answer lies not with the state but with the federal government, which could take steps to provide medical marijuana in uniform fashion across the country through prescriptions written by doctors.

The Ohio legislature must hold hearings and conduct a robust debate to lessen the future likelihood that those with a special interest in promoting weed may make another less-than-palatable appeal directly to the voters.

Online: http://bit.ly/1PqCpCv

The Columbus Dispatch, Nov. 9

Changes to federal welfare rules made in the 1990s under President Bill Clinton were an important step to discourage generational dependence and to get people back to work. But “one size fits all” government programs are not the best policy in all cases.

A new plan from the administration of Gov. John Kasich seeks flexibility within the federal work requirements to receive cash welfare assistance, while keeping the overall welfare-to-work framework in place. With very limited exceptions, adults receiving cash assistance (available for up to 36 months) currently must work at least 30 hours per week or participate in training or another activity designed to lead to employment. If a state fails to meet these requirements, it risks losing federal funding for welfare …

The new rules also would remove the 16-hour monthly cap for “good cause” exemptions, though an 80-hour annual limit would remain in place. These exemptions include a parent who needs to care for a sick child or other emergencies. Having to take time off to deal with an urgent family matter can easily derail a poor person’s drive to get ahead …

If this plan works, Ohio could become a leader among states in showing that government can be nimble in addressing problems of poverty and unemployment. Every day, there are jobs going unfilled because Ohioans lack the skills employers need, and Ohioans are hamstrung in their efforts to become self-sufficient by rules that are too rigid.

These are common-sense tweaks that could produce good results.

Online: http://bit.ly/1GSVJax

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