Editorial roundup

The Courier, Sept. 1

State lawmakers underestimated the complexity of setting the framework for Ohio’s first major step into legalizing marijuana.

House Bill 523 was signed into law by Gov. John Kasich two years ago this month, but it gave officials two years to fully implement the new industry.

Apparently, they needed longer.

Medical marijuana is required by the law to be available to patients beginning Sept. 8, a week from today, but the state will apparently not meet the deadline.

One big reason is because many of the pot plants that will be processed into the products that patients will be able to purchase are still in the ground, and not ready for harvest.

The late rollout of medical pot is unfortunate on various levels, but primarily to those who are counting on it to alleviate pain, inflammation or nausea. But it is still better for the state to get it right than to create problems that would undermine the law.

Many communities in Ohio took a wary approach after lawmakers approved the marijuana law in 2016. Some cities moved to ban medical marijuana, but others, including Findlay, chose to issue a moratorium until guidelines were in place. The city’s moratorium expires Sept. 8, and with so many safeguards established, there would seem no real need to extend it.

Yes, Ohio’s painstaking move to a controlled and monitored medical form of marijuana will have a learning curve. Still, unreasonable delays and burdens must not be placed on those who are now eligible to use marijuana for health purposes under state law.

Online: https://bit.ly/2oDqkCS

The Akron Beacon Journal, Sept. 2

One week ago, the student loan ombudsman at the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau submitted a blistering letter of resignation. Seth Frotman argued the bureau “has turned its back on young people and their financial futures,” abandoning “the very consumers it is tasked by Congress with protecting.” Part of the bureau’s work goes to ensuring that students who borrow for their education are not cheated or otherwise abused by lenders and loan servicing firms.

Student loans largely work through the federal government lending directly to borrowers. The Education Department hires private companies, or loan servicers, to manage the loans. In January 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau sued Navient, the country’s leading servicer of federal and private student loans, charging that the company cheated borrowers on their repayment rights.

The Education Department subsequently announced that it would cease sharing its student loan data with the bureau. It contends the bureau has become “overreaching and unaccountable.” Actually, what the department has done is put loan servicers beyond the reach of the bureau. Without the data, the bureau cannot perform its job.

Recall why the bureau was created in the aftermath of the Wall Street calamity that deepened the Great Recession, the record replete with stories of lenders scamming consumers. Bankers and others in the financial industry have their squads of lobbyists and political action committees. The reasonable notion is: Establish an advocate on the side of consumers.

Online: https://bit.ly/2MH07BT