Monday, April 4, 2022

Monday Morning - 4 April 2022:

House votes to legalize cannabis, 
but Senate has its own ideas


National Headline with Local Implications -- The House passed a bill to legalize marijuana on the federal level for the second consecutive Congress, signaling a continued interest by Democrats in overhauling the federal approach to a substance that is legal for medical use in 37 states.

The 220-204 vote on the bill, which would decriminalize the possession and use of marijuana, fell mostly along party lines on April 1. Three Republicans voted in favor of the bill, and two Democrats voted against. Rep. Chris Jacobs, R-Orchard Park, voted no.

When a similar bill passed in 2020, the GOP-controlled Senate declined to take it up, but lawmakers are hopeful that growing public support and a Democratic majority in the chamber could spur action.

“The Senate works with its own schedule,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat. “We’ve talked to a number of people in terms of their support for this, but I’ve only been here 20 years, and I do not pretend to understand the ways of the Senate.”

Sen. Cory Booker said earlier this week that moving the House bill would be unlikely and senators are focusing on their own proposal.

“Right now we’re looking at doing the one that we’ve been working on for a long time,” said the New Jersey Democrat, referring to a discussion draft released last year with Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon. That draft contained a similar tax regime to what is imposed on alcohol and tobacco.

The House bill and Senate proposal differ on how to impose excise taxes for marijuana importers and distributors. Senators sought to set the rate at 10%, and it would rise to 25% over five years. Advocacy and industry groups argue the rate would be too high, even though proposed tax credits would halve that rate for small businesses.

The House bill calls for a 5% rate that would inch up to 8% over five years. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the House bill could generate $8.1 billion by 2031, some of which would be used to fund programs in communities most affected by the war on drugs. It would also create a process for some people to get federal cannabis convictions expunged and sentences reviewed.

“It’s just very encouraging that there is an appetite not just to decriminalize at the federal level, but really do restorative justice — things that are very important,” Booker said.

Booker said it could be tough finding 60 votes in the Senate, but supporters’ best bet would be to package it with provisions that have been favorably received by the GOP. That includes House-passed legislation to give banks the ability to provide services to legitimate cannabis-related businesses.

The Senate has not yet taken up the bill, and Booker said the financial and criminal justice components shouldn’t be separated.

“If we get that done, you lose a valuable sweetener to get the restorative justice,” he said. “It’s really important that we don’t break this up, or else we’re going to really lose a chance to alleviate a stress for hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Americans.”

Rep. Ed Perlmutter, who introduced the House banking bill, said he sees a path forward on it but isn’t sure if there are enough votes for more sweeping legislation like the so-called MORE Act the House passed Friday.

“I think safe banking is still in the mix. But if MORE or something like MORE passes, then that’s fine,” said the Colorado Democrat. “It resolves the question.”

Booker said he hopes the Senate proposal could be released close to April 20, an unofficial holiday for marijuana enthusiasts to celebrate the substance that’s still listed as Schedule I on the federal level. Those substances are defined as having high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. Other drugs in that category include heroin, peyote and ecstasy.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the House bill’s main sponsor, said during Friday’s debate that it would treat marijuana as a public health issue, not a criminal one. It begins to rectify a “heavy toll” that criminalizing marijuana has taken, particularly on communities of color and low-income communities.

The House bill also would replace all statutory references to “marijuana” and “marihuana” with the word “cannabis.”

Republicans pushed back on the bill, arguing that it doesn’t sufficiently address the question of what the legal age for use should be; the differences between marijuana and hemp, a concern among agriculture interests; and use among motorists.

“My friends — many of them in the law enforcement space, including my brother, a former county sheriff — have said this is a huge problem where we don’t know when people are driving impaired,” said Rep. Cliff Bentz, an Oregon Republican. “Why are we broadening this problem when we don’t know how to charge those who are driving under the influence?”

When the bill was advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee, two Republicans — Matt Gaetz of Florida, who is the only GOP co-sponsor, and Tom McClintock of California — got on board with Democrats. They both re-upped their support for the floor vote Friday, and they were joined by Florida Republican Rep. Brian Mast.

Democratic Reps. Chris Pappas of New Hampshire and Henry Cuellar of Texas voted against it.

Momentum for change has been building at the state level. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia had legalized recreational use as of February, while a total of 37 states and D.C. allowed medical marijuana, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

A 2021 Pew survey found that 91% of U.S. adults polled supported some form of legalization, although 31% said it should be for medical use only.

The House adopted several amendments to the bill before voting on final passage. Two of those amendments would authorize studies to look into how law enforcement could determine whether motorists are driving high and how legalization would affect the workplace and school-age children.

An amendment put forth by Rep. Jamie Raskin called for a prohibition on denying or revoking security clearances based on past or present marijuana use, but it was narrowly rejected. Several White House officials lost their jobs last year because of past marijuana use.

The time has come for the federal government to recognize the inevitable, the Maryland Democrat said.

“Most people live in states where marijuana has either been legalized, decriminalized or made lawful for medicinal use,” Raskin said. “We’ve got to make sure that our laws start to catch up.”

Laura Weiss and Jim Saksa contributed to this report.

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SILVER LAKE EXPERIENCE (SLE) - Registration now Open for this August 4-6, 2022's SLE. See: SilverLakeExperience.org

W. PETE MAIRS

W. PETE MAIRS
Walter D. “Pete” Mairs, 81, died peacefully on July 23, 2021. Born in Avon, N.Y., on Sept. 3, 1939, Pete was a longtime resident of Geneva, N.Y., and these past many years in Buffalo, N.Y., as well as his beloved Silver Lake. Pete is survived by his wife, Linda Bergstrom Mairs, a loving and true companion; children, Mimi C. Mairs, Jonathan B. Mairs; sisters, June Huff, Helen Dole; brother, Thomas Mairs; stepchildren, Daniel Brinkworth, Jennie Ramsey; sister-in-law, Anne Bergstrom, eight beautiful grandchildren, and nieces and nephews. A service and celebration of life is planned for the fall when all can share the joy of Pete’s life together. Arrangements by Stephenson – Dougherty Funeral Home, Avon, N.Y.

Editor's Note: It was a privilege knowing and working with Pete Mairs during his presidency of the Silver Lake Institute. He was a kind and gentle man, but also firm in his leadership. I served as Treasurer and Chaplain of SLI during those years and I could always depend on Pete's presence in the worship service. He was a man of faith and a gem of a human being. May he rest in God's care.

GERALD C. SAHRLE

GERALD C. SAHRLE
Gerald C. Sahrle, 80, of Perry, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. He was born on Oct. 10, 1941, in Wayland, N.Y., to the late Charles A. and Helen I. (Blowers) Sahrle. Gerry was a line foreman for 32 1/2 years for NYSE&G, working out of the Perry and Hamburg locations, and was a Town of Perry Councilman. He was a member of the Free and Accepted Masons of the Constellation Lodge -404 in Perry. He was an avid fisherman, hunter and woodworker. He is survived by his wife, Valary A. (Conley) Sahrle; 1 son, Gerald (Pamela) Sahrle II of Silver Springs; 2 sisters, Millie Edmond of Greece, Bonnie Fink of Winston-Salem, N.C., 3 brothers, Ronald (Linda) Sahrle of Dansville, Robert (Susan) Sahrle of Springwater, Kenneth Sahrle of Dansville; 5 grandchildren, Bradley Musscarella, Stone and Winston Sahrle, Conley and Cooper Gayton; along with many nieces, nephews and friends. Along with his parents, he is preceded in death by a brother, Thomas Sahrle, who passed away in 2012. Services will be held at the convenience of the family. Gerry will be laid to rest in West Perry Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Perry Center Fire Department, P.O. Box 204, Perry, NY 14530. For more information, please call (585) 237-2626 or to leave a message of condolence, visit www.eatonwatsonfuneralhome.com. Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 North Main Street, Perry, NY 14530.

Editor's Note: Gerald and Valarie could always be seen in the family pew with Pamela, Stone and Winston at Perry First United Methodist Church and continue to be loved. Gerry will be sorely missed. Both were supporters of the Arts at the Silver Lake Institute and Valarie was active in painting and participating in the Annual Show in August. Valarie's presence was always valued and appreciated.

KATHARINE E. PRACZKAJLO ("Kathy P.")

KATHARINE E. PRACZKAJLO ("Kathy P.")
"Kathy P." passed November 8, 2021, of Hamburg and Boston, NY. Beloved daughter of Joseph and Barbara Michalak; loving sister of Daniel Michalak; devoted wife of the late Jeffrey Praczkajlo; cherished mother of Jennifer (Shawn) Jump; loving babcia of Lily Jump; also survived by many beloved family members and friends who became her family. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Editor's Note: "Kathy P." as she was better known to us at Silver Lake was an annual summer visitor for most of the last number of years at the invitation of Silver Laker Julia Hoffner. She stayed at the Hoffner Cottage, and became known as both the fun visitor with the vivacious smile to the neighbors at the intersection of Haven Ave. and the Ames Walkway. Kathy P. and Julie could be seen walking and talking between the cottage and the Hoffner boathouse where they could be close to the water. She was also occasionally seen at the Saturday morning breakfasts at Stoody Hall. Her stay was anywhere between 4 days and a week where she had the opportunity to develop a love for Silver Lake. She was not yet eligible for retirement when late last week she developed "a cold" and had to remain home from her job. She did not update her condition over the weekend so the local police made a wellness visit and found her deceased on Monday. She was one of those many people who found Silver Lake and friendship for brief respites where she also found new strength and energy to return to work. She is being particularly mourned by those in the Haven/Ames neighborhood. She will be memorialized next summer at the annual Celebration of Life Memorial Service at Epworth Hall.

BRENDA J. PADDOCK

BRENDA J. PADDOCK
Brenda Joan Paddock, 82, of Perry, born April 15, 1939, now resides in heaven with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Brenda met Jesus as her Savior in 1965. She met him in person on Nov. 14, 2021. She had a beautiful homecoming with music, singing and praying, leading her into Glory. Her last words were “I am well, I am well.”

Brenda’s greatest loves were her family and friends. Brenda had five children with her husband Roger: Don and Daelene Paddock of Florida, Jody and Tim Von Sanden of Pavilion, Bradley and Jeanie Paddock of Warsaw, Jennifer and Paul Guy of Massachusetts, and Nathan and Jill Paddock of Perry.

Brenda dearly loved her grandchildren: Jessica Morillo, Nikki and Clint O’Brien, Luke Paddock, Paul Paddock, Ian and Brooklyn Paddock, Joe and Louana Paddock, Burke and Megan Paddock, Aaron Paddock, Ellen Paddock, Andrew Paddock, Rachael Paddock, Abigail Paddock, Erik and Cassandra Von Sanden, Jacquelyn and Michael Jones, Tim Von Sanden, Brandon and Brandee Paddock, Jamey and Laura Paddock, Peter and Kara Guy, Candy and Jay Waitkevich, Marlo and Ryan Bolger and Jenna and Rory Peterson.

Brenda was blessed and loved her great grandchildren: Chloe, Olivia and Nicholas Von Sanden, Joshua and Jaxon Morillo, Jameson and Cassandra O’Brien, Atlas Paddock, Noah and Ezra Jones, Colton, Brantley and Charlotte Guy, Cameron Waitkevich, Amelia Bolger and Brennen Leonard.

Brenda is also survived by her brother and sister in laws; Frank and Emma Paddock, Viva and Jim Phillips-Richardson and Kurt and Lynn Paddock.

Brenda first started working as a secretary at Perry Central School. She then assisted her husband building Paddock’s Breeding Service. Roger and Brenda together built and ran the Sandsabarn teenage nightclub. Brenda was owner and operator of Serendipity Travel. Brenda’s pleasures included playing organ and piano. She played at a number of area churches along with performing for her loved ones. UPDATED -- Brenda also played with conviction at both indoor and outdoor services at the Silver Lake Institute where her grandson, Luke, sang at Epworth Hall on several occasions and was appreciated by all who heard his inspiring voice.

Brenda was preceded in death by her parents Noble and Freda Buckland, her husband Roger and son Bradley.

A Committal service at West Perry Cemetery will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, November 17 at 11 a.m., followed by a Celebration of Life at LaGrange Baptist Church at 4 p.m.

Memorial donations may be made in Brenda’s honor to the LaGrange Baptist Church 7092 LaGrange Rd. Perry, NY 14530 or to the First Congregational Church P.O. Box 156 Perry, NY 14530. Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 N. Main St., Perry, N.Y. 14530. For more information or to sign the online guest registry please visit www.eatonwatsonfuneralhome.com.

AUGUST 4-7, 2022

AUGUST 4-7, 2022
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