Roy Moore blasts Mo Brooks ‘ridiculous’ stance on marijuana legalization


This week, Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks, in a heated race for the U.S. Senate seat now occupied by Luther Strange, declared his support for legalizing medical marijuana.

Taking that stance during a Senate race is “absolutely ridiculous,” said former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore, also running in the special election to serve the remaining term of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The United States faces bigger, more pressing problems, Moore said, and those issues are what should be addressed during a Senate race, not whether to legalize medical marijuana.

On Monday, Brooks made the declaration at a news conference streamed on Facebook, the same day fellow Senate candidate Dom Gentile — whose wife has cancer — dropped out of the race to endorse Brooks.

The Huntsville Republican said: “Medical cannabis should be treated like any other medical treatment that saves lives or eases pain and symptoms … That is what I believe. That is how I will vote in the Senate. That is how I have voted in the House.”

Appearing on WYDE Wednesday, Moore slammed Brooks’ position as a non-starter.

“I think it’s ridiculous to concentrate on a matter like that as a United States Senator which should be left to the states,” Moore said on The Michael Hart Show. “I mean we got North Korea threatening to nuke us, we got a health care system that’s broken and costs everybody, an immigration system that’s risking the security of our national security because of people flowing across the borders; we’ve got unfair trade agreements … I could go on and on … we got judges thinking they rule the world.”

“About an issue like this,” Moore added, “leave it to the states.”

As for legalization of medical marijuana, it continues to be a hotly debated issue, particularly over the possibility of increased use among youths.

A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics found as more states legalize the drug for adult use, a greater number of teenagers think it is safe. This leads to rising concerns by doctors and other medical professionals that teens are underestimating the risks of marijuana use.

“Marijuana is not a benign drug for teenagers because it affects their developing mind. Teenagers are at a critical time of brain development and they have lifelong impacts from marijuana during adolescence,” Dr. Stephen Patrick of Vanderbilt University Medical Center told Chris Martinez of CBS New York.

“People living in states with legalized medical marijuana are more likely to use and abuse cannabis than people living in states where pot remains completely illegal, says a new study that cautions policymakers,” wrote Trevor Hughes in an April 26 piece for USA Today, reporting on a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

In July 2015, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported on a study by Florida International University finding legalized medical marijuana could lead to increased marijuana use by teenagers.

According to research by FIU criminal justice professor Lisa Stolzenberg, legalized medical marijuana in Florida marijuana could lead to increased pot use by youths, similar to what happened in other states that passed laws allowing marijuana for the treatment of pain, nausea, vomiting and other medical conditions.

The study also cited statistics for 2010-11, the most recent year in the study, where 9.7 percent of high school students reported using pot in states with legalized medical marijuana, compared to only 6.8 percent in states where it was illegal. Marijuana use among youth in states that legalized rose consistently since 2004, staying higher than in states where it’s illegal.

In the Alabama Senate race, Roll Call reports recent internal polling puts Moore in the lead with 27 percent, Strange at 23 percent and Brooks at 21 percent.

If no candidate reaches 50 percent plus one in the Aug. 15 special primary, the top two vote-getters will face a runoff Sept. 26; the general election is Dec. 12.

Moore’s appearance can be heard here:

Trip Pittman nets $250K in Senate bid, ‘top-tier’ in Q2 fundraising


State Sen. Trip Pittman raised nearly $250,000 in the second quarter, putting him in the “top tier” of candidates in Alabama’s special election for the Senate seat currently held by Luther Strange.

Pittman’s take included a personal loan of $50,000, reports AL.com, and shows he was “among the race’s thriftiest spenders up to the end of June, spending a little more than $30,000 on his campaign.”

Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and Huntsville Republican Congressman Mo Brooks each posted $300,000 in donations, while Strange raised $1.8 million in the second quarter.

Roll Call reported recently on internal polling that puts Moore in the lead with 27 percent, Strange at 23 percent and Brooks at 21 percent.

In a campaign statement, Pittman noted there was only a single donation from a PAC: The University of South Alabama.

“The people of Alabama need someone with integrity,” said Pittman, who represents Montrose. “I am running to shake up Washington, not to be part of the problem. Alabama needs to select their next senator, not the Washington money crowd or a disgraced former governor. I am 100 percent committed to this race, and have no interest in any other elected office.”

While Pittman touts a lack of PAC money in contributions to his Senate campaign, AL.com notes there were a significant number of lobbyists: Joseph Fine and Robert Geddie, of the Fine Geddie lobbying firm; Dax Swatek and Tim Howe, of the lobbying firm Swatek, Howe & Ross; Tom Coker, president of the lobbying firm Tom Coker & Associates and Michael Sullivan, owner of The Lobbyist Group.

If one person does not reach 50 percent plus one in the Aug. 15 GOP primary, the top two vote-getters will face a runoff Sept. 26; the general election is Dec. 12.

Alabama ranked near bottom of list of best states for startups, small business


A financial website ranks Alabama as one of the least favorable places for starting a business in the U.S.

The study announced this week by personal finance website WalletHub ranks Alabama as the 42nd best state for startups in 2017.

Grading on a 100-point scale, WalletHub used 20 key indicators of startup success to come up with its “2017 Best & Worst States to Start a Business,” averaging the score on each — with 100 being best.

Metrics include office space expense, incentive spending, financing, an average length of the workweek, availability of human capital and the growth in the number of small businesses.

On that scale, Alabama scored 40.92 points —  last in Business Environment, 31st in Access to Resources and ninth in Business Costs. Alabama is among the bottom five states with the lowest average growth in the number of small businesses.

However, the Yellowhammer State ranked in the top five for lowest labor costs, along with four other Southern states.

In relation to some of its neighbors, Alabama listed at or near the bottom: Florida is sixth, Georgia is eighth; Tennessee and Mississippi were 27th and 28th respectively.

Maryland, New Hampshire and New Jersey ranked lowest overall.

The company also asked a panel of nine experts for their business insights on four key questions:

  1. Do you believe that the economic policies being pursued by the Trump administration will promote new-business development?
  2. To what extent do state policies, such as corporate tax rates, influence decisions about whether and where to start a new business?
  3. Are tax breaks and other incentives to encourage new businesses overall a good or bad investment for states?
  4. What measures can state authorities undertake in order to encourage entrepreneurs to start new businesses in their state?

Answers are available at WalletHub.com.

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Source: WalletHub