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People’s column

Tourney benefits camp, youth

Editor, OBSERVER:

The Board of Directors of the Camp Gross Foundation would like to express our heart-felt thanks to the participants of the fifth annual Dr. John R.and Alona Forbes Golf Tournament that was held recently at the Cassadaga Country Club. Our gratitude to Fredonia Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep & Ram for sponsoring the Hole In One Give Away and our event sponsors: AIM Recycling, Dunkirk WWII Vets Club, the Forbes family, Lakeside Precision, Lake Shore Savings & Loan and Legends Excavating.

We would also like to thank our players Sponsors: AW Farrell, M&T Insurance, Robo, Shults, and our numerous lunch and hole sponsors.

Our special appreciation to Cassadaga Country Club and family for their continued support and to Jana Tarnowski the “Basket Raffle Queen.”

The youth of Chautauqua County and beyond benefit from your generosity.

SALLY LAWSON,

Albany Times Union: New York’s continuing

marijuana mess

The state failed to properly prepare for the legalization of recreational cannabis. Growers and retailers are paying the price.

To say that cannabis legalization in New York is not going smoothly is an understatement in the extreme. Evidence is overwhelming that the state just doesn’t have its act together.

Look, for example, at a recent report by the Cornell Labor and Employment Law Program, which noted ongoing confusion about how and when employers may test workers who are exhibiting signs of marijuana impairment. State law as written does a disservice to employers and employees alike.

So, when might an employer test? That’s unclear. No state regulations address the topic, according to the Cornell report. Neither are there clear state rules about when an employee can challenge a positive test or the punishment, including firing, that may follow, a situation complicated by the lack of a reliable test for at-the-moment marijuana impairment.

And while state law does allow employers to punish or fire workers exhibiting specific symptoms of marijuana use, the statute does not define those symptoms or situations. And how would discharge or discipline for cannabis use affect unemployment insurance eligibility? That’s also unclear.

In other words, state lawmakers haven’t done the work necessary to help employers and workers through the consequences of legalization. Employers and workers have been left to sort through it all on their own.

And that’s hardly the only example of confusion resulting from the state’s clumsy cannabis rollout.

We’ve written previously about the dire circumstances facing marijuana growers, who because of the state’s failure to get licensed dispensaries up and operating have been left with no market for their crop. The gravity of the situation was on full display last week during a meeting of the state Cannabis Control Board that was flooded by distressed marijuana farmers, processors and retail license holders.

“I have 500-plus pounds sitting and rotting right now,” a cannabis farmer from Niagara County told the board. “This ruined my life,” the grower added. “We’re tired. We’re done. We’re struggling. We need help.”

New York got cannabis farmers into this mess by encouraging them to grow the crop, selling them on the state’s vision and promising them a market for it. State lawmakers and the administration of Gov. Kathy Hochul now must get them out of it. Both are obligated to fix this mess and to make cannabis farmers whole.

Yes, a change as complicated and significant as marijuana legalization was always going to be difficult. We get that. But the confusion and distress on display in New York can’t be blamed on foreseeable bumps in the road. They result from state policymakers who didn’t prepare properly, leaving failure as the likely outcome.

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