The NY Times Becomes Nation’s First Major News Publication to Endorse Marijuana Legalization

The New York Times Editorial Board released a landmark and incredibly public manifesto over the weekend in the form of an editorial series — the publication has officially condoned the past 40 years of marijuana prohibition, and now calls for the federal government to take action toward legalization.

The editorial series dedicates several more articles to the subject, which will be published throughout the week. These follow-up articles are to discuss unique aspects of cannabis’ current situation at the national level.

While the Editorial Board clearly recognizes that their opinion may spark heated controversy in some circles, they also have expressed confidence that the American population in general could sympathize with a desire to repeal marijuana prohibition.

“There are no perfect answers to people’s legitimate concerns about marijuana use. But neither are there such answers about tobacco or alcohol, and we believe that on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization. That will put decisions on whether to allow recreational or medicinal production and use where it belongs — at the state level.”

The first part of the editorial series predictably calls for the federal government to repeal prohibition and leave it up to states to decide for themselves on the issue of marijuana.

A second article sheds light on the injustice of most marijuana arrests, arguing that not only can you measure the damage of marijuana prohibition in the billions of dollars it costs taxpayers, but also in the countless years of human life claimed by outrageously long prison sentences given to nonviolent drug offenders.

Yet another article argues that marijuana prohibition’s origin is rooted in racist ideals and out-dated legislation — that the era of ‘Reefer Madness’ was intended to demonize Mexican immigrants and African Americans, who were associated with marijuana use at the time.

The fourth installment discusses the health implications surrounding marijuana use, grounding its readership in a firmly scientific analysis of the benefits and drawbacks of a society that smokes marijuana.

The groundbreaking editorial series is set to continue throughout the rest of this week, with the final two articles’ subjects foreshadowed at the top of the New York Times’ Opinion section of their website: we can expect further articles expanding on the titles ‘Track Record’ and ‘Regulation’ to reach the media stream soon.

Historically, the New York Times has expressed some very different opinions on the issue of cannabis prohibition. About 30 years ago, for example, the publication was releasing some of the most anti-marijuana material you could find in those days. A.M. Rosenthal, former executive editor and columnist for the New York Times, made particular efforts to support cannabis prohibition in his day — and in a perfectly ironic twist, the current editorial page editor is none other than Andrew Rosenthal, the original editor Rosenthal’s son.

Sources:

http://blog.norml.org/2014/07/26/new-york-times-end-prohibition-again/

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/07/27/opinion/sunday/high-time-marijuana-legalization.html

Photo Credit: Alexander Torrenegra

 

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