CHARLESTON, W.Va. Security has now been improved at the 130th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard.
It makes it much easier for our men and women and security forces to be able to maintain this base and do their job, said state Adjutant General James Hoyer.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Friday for the new entrance at the McLaughlin Air National Guard Base in Charleston. U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) was on hand to celebrate the completion of the $3.75 million project.
It s much more secure. Much more professional. I think it is a nice completion of the base that we have here that we re very proud of, she said. Capito worked to secure funding for the project after the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission highlighted security concerns at the base. In 2005, the BRAC Commission recommended the shutdown of the airlift wing, but local and state leaders made sure that did not happen.
I was glad to be on the Appropriations Committee to that was very critical in getting the federal dollars for this, but it was a whole joint community project, Capito said.
Coonskin Drive, where the base is located, used to serve as the only way into Coonskin Park. Security gates were installed on the road, so the public could longer drive right past the military facilities. A new bridge to the park opened in Oct. 2015.
It s going to be much easier to turn people around and direct them in the right direction. I think the bridge has made a significant impact on the growth of the park on that side, so it s been a win for every body, Hoyer said. The project is part of what Hoyer called Joint Base West Virginia.
With the term Joint Base West Virginia, we ve created a vision that we, the Guard, can be the key catalysts for this state to be a national security and homeland security asset, he said. Members of the Kanawha County Commission were also on hand to applaud the efforts made in the last decade.
Leading News from Sri Lanka::
* Australia and Sri Lanka to enhance cooperation in maritime security
Fri, May 26, 2017, 08:45 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
May 26, Sydney: President Maithripala Sirisena assured that his government is totally committed to support the campaign against human smuggling and sea piracy. He said that Sri Lanka would extend fullest cooperation to the efforts taken to enhance maritime security.
The President made this statement when the Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne called on him at the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney, on Thursday (May 25).
Ms Payne thanked the President for excellent cooperation extended to Australia for curbing human smuggling and added that the cooperation could be further extended. President Sirisena said that drug smuggling has also become a major threat to many countries and emphasized the need for broad international cooperation to eliminate that menace. Defense Minister, explaining the experience gained by the Australian Navy over the years to prevent drug smuggling, said the drug smugglers use the profits to fund terrorist organizations and it is a major problem to law and order in many countries. Hence Australia is willing to closely cooperate with Sri Lanka in this field and provide every possible assistance to Sri Lanka Navy and Coast Guard, Ms Payne assured the President.
Australia currently provides training to military cadets from Sri Lanka, and the Defense Minister acceded to the President’s request to expand training facilities to include middle-level and senior military officers.
Minister John Amaratunga, Deputy Ministers Harsha de Silva, Ajith P. Perera, and the High Commissioner Somasundaram Skandakumar participated on this occasion.
ColomboPage – Recent 10 Stories ::
Nevada’s first medical marijuana dispensary opens in Reno on July 31, 2015. Andy Barron
The legalized marijuana industry is growing more than pot. Analysts say it could create over a quarter of a million jobs while other industries decline.(Photo: USA TODAY video still)
Now that Nevada has the green light to move forward with its early start recreational marijuana program, it could set the national record for the fastest turnaround of retail reefer. In a rush for kush, the state is attempting to power forward with recreational marijuana sales in a mere eight months since voters approved Question 2 in November. That’s faster than any other state so far.
The ballot question made it kosher for anyone over the age of 21 to possess up to an ounce of weed and up to an eighth-ounce of concentrate, but the actual sale and purchase of recreational marijuana will not be legal until July 1. Under the recently approved early start program, existing medical marijuana dispensaries that are in “good standing” will be eligible to sell recreational marijuana.
“We have so many people coming in every day and calling in every day asking when we’ll have (recreational marijuana),” said Bobbie Macfarlane, assistant manager of Sierra Wellness Connection, a dispensary in Reno.
Nevada, first in line
California, Maine and Massachusetts also voted in November to legalize recreational marijuana, but the Silver State will be the first of the pool to take the plunge into legal sales. California is expected to be about six months behind Nevada, starting its sales in January 2018, same as Maine. Sales in Massachusetts, where adults can have more than double the Nevada limit, won’t begin until mid-2018.
A main incentive for the early start program indeed stems from Gov. Brian Sandoval s proposed budget request, which includes $70 million from recreational marijuana taxes over the next two years to support education. Officials also want to squash the thriving black market, since possessing recreational pot has been legal since January.
“Nevada’s (system) is much more advanced than smaller states. You already have rigorous testing and security, two of the biggest challenges,” said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Denver-based Marijuana Policy Project. The push for recreational sales to happen sooner than later also has its critics.
“We re trying to truncate the process. I mean, where did this early start program even begin?” said Jim Hartman, a staunch opponent of marijuana legalization. Hartman, a retired lawyer in Carson City, often appears at the Nevada Legislature to voice his qualms with the state’s swift pace with legalization. He has noted on several accounts that Nevada is moving far quicker than he is comfortable with.
“To me it s a backroom agreement to get tax receipts,” Hartman said.
The Marijuana Policy Project is nonpartisan but has been behind many of the lobbying efforts in states moving towards the emerald glow of legalization. The first states that legalized recreational marijuana Colorado and Washington state waited more than a year after they voted in 2012 to approve legal sales, but they were the pioneers of the movement. Following their footsteps, Oregon and Alaska voted and waited about a year (even though marijuana has technically been legal in Alaska since 1975, according to its state constitution).
“Of the states that have legalized marijuana, two of them had kind of a unique situations: Washington and Alaska, they were starting from scratch. There were no testing rules, there were no licensing rules,” O’Keefe said. Those living in Washington, D.C., which voted in 2014, can possess, cultivate and donate weed, but sales are still couched.
Ready, set, go
As Nevada prepares for full-throttle legalization, the Nevada Department of Taxation, which is tasked with overseeing the recreational marijuana industry, is working hand-in-hand with the Department of Health and Human Services, which has overseen the state’s medical marijuana program. Although Nevada legalized medical marijuana in 2000, the state did not approve regulations until 2013, and the industry did not get off the ground until 2015. Since then, green has gone wild.
The state’s medical marijuana program had 60 medical marijuana dispensaries, 88 cultivation facilities, 57 production companies and 11 testing laboratories in Nevada as of May 10, the most recent survey of medical marijuana establishments by the state health department. Nearly 28,000 in-state cardholders are enlisted as of May, and Nevada’s dispensaries also serve cardholders from out-of-state thanks to the in-state reciprocity laws. One of the concerns that dispensaries have is how they will separate medical and recreational product since much of it is the same product, but taxed differently. Their greatest concern is that they could run out of supply for medical cardholders.
Several legislative bills could change the marijuana tax structure, but, for the time being, recreational marijuana will be sold with a 15 percent wholesale tax.
Since Nevada legalized recreational marijuana, anyone 21 and over can possess up to 1 ounce in-state. How many people actually could look at an ounce and identify it, though? We’re here to help educate you. (Photo: Jenny Kane/RGJ)
Medical marijuana will be sold with a 2 percent wholesale tax. Medical marijuana also carries a 2 percent tax applied at production and another 2 percent tax applied at sale.
“It’s tough because we’re still trying to figure out the laws,” said Macfarlane, from Sierra Wellness Connection. Current bills being considered by the Nevada Legislature address everything from packaging requirements to municipality taxes and fees to research guidelines, and even the industry regulations could change when the temporary ones switch over to the permanent ones in January. It doesn’t help that, since marijuana is illegal on a federal level, businesses have to deal entirely in cash. Sierra Wellness is hiring a security guard for their location before July.
While there are certainly some stresses that come with the line of work, she still is on board with the state’s momentum.
“(The state is) jumping on the opportunity. Any new industry is stressful. You have to fail a few times, but that’s how you figure it out,” Macfarlane said.
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- ^ Recreational marijuana ‘early start’ program to debut in July (www.rgj.com)
- ^ Nevada marijuana sales could reach $550M annually (www.rgj.com)
- ^ Can I smoke marijuana on my front porch, and other common pot questions (www.rgj.com)
- ^ even though marijuana has technically been legal in Alaska since 1975, according to its state constitution (www.washingtonpost.com)