Fore Note: Stuart Starr is a Lenoir City resident challenging Representative Jimmy Duncan.

Starr touts legal marijuana to Dems

Legalization of marijuana topped issues Stuart Starr, Democratic candidate seeking the 2nd District U.S. House of Representatives seat, addressed during a 5th District Knox County Democratic meeting.

About 20 attendees turned out to hear from Starr, who is running against Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., the Republican incumbent, during the meeting Thursday, Sept. 15, in Rosarito’s Mexican Cantina, 210 Lovell Road.

Starr said people are less interested in foreign policy than basic issues, such as legalization of marijuana.

He referred to Knox County resident Steve Cooper and said Cooper got 14,000 signatures from Knoxville residents on a petition for a referendum on legalization of marijuana for medical and recreational use.
“Everyone I speak to, if you say ‘I’m for legalization for marijuana,’ they will say, ‘I will vote for you,’” Starr said. “Duncan has been liberal but he will not come out and say it.

“What we want to do is let the states decide [the issue].”

However, attendee Sandra Thomas, PhD, RN and director of The University of Tennessee College of Nursing Doctoral program, voiced her concerns about legalizing marijuana.

“I don’t have any objections to adults who choose to use this as a recreational substance or who need it for medical purposes, but there is a ton of research that shows the damage [marijuana] will do to developing brain matter,” Thomas said.

Starr said by legalizing marijuana, it could be more restricted, especially for young people.

While Starr said he saw no trajectory between marijuana use and opioid use, Thomas again disagreed.

Starr also discussed taxes.

“Our tax system is crazy,” he said. “We give too much money to the wealthy and corporations. We need to stop that.”

Starr said Republicans would want to talk about Second Amendment rights, but said he is for those rights.

He said he is running to give people a choice and asked for attendees to vote in the Nov. 8 election. His slogan is “We’re all doomed, remain hopeful.”

Attendees also heard from Lisa Plowchan, community outreach captain for Hillary for Knoxville and representative for 5th District, who talked about the local campaign needs for presidential Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

“Believe it or not, we are 55 days out until the election,” Plowchan said. “The most immediate need from national that’s coming down to us is they need us to be phone banking and canvassing in North Carolina.”

“We are asking all the districts to commit or pull together as a group to phone bank for Hillary maybe every other week or maybe once a month,” Plowchan said.

On another note, Brad Duckett, chairman of the District 5 Knox County Democratic Party, announced plans of Truman Day, an annual party fundraiser, was scheduled at 6:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 30, at The Foundry in World’s Fair Park, Knoxville. Advance tickets, which are $60 per person, include a sit-down dinner. The cost is $70 after Wednesday, Sept. 28.