The New York Times Editorial Board Says ‘Legalize It’; Munchies Ensue


One green begets another

In what has to be the biggest sign of the inevitabililty of that marijuana legalization, The New York Times editorial board announced this weekend that “Now is the time!”

It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.

The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.

That sound you hear is America dropping its collective jaw.

The basic point behind that megaphone blast: moderate use of marijuana for medical/recreational purposes does not carry the same risks involved in consuming two legal drugs: alcohol and tobacco. The act of calling upon the federal government to repeal the ban on weed recalls public resistance to prohibition, hence the title of the NYT editorial “Repeal Prohibition, Again.

i-weed-new-yorkThe state of New York New York legalized the use of medical marijuana earlier this month, but most did not expect the larger movement to earn the full-throated support of the Grey Lady’s staff. The editorial brings up some persuasive reasons why this repeal should be considered.

First, crime:

There were 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, according to F.B.I. figures, compared with 256,000 for cocaine, heroin and their derivatives. Even worse, the result is racist, falling disproportionately on young black men, ruining their lives and creating new generations of career criminals.

Then, health:

There is honest debate among scientists about the health effects of marijuana, but we believe that the evidence is overwhelming that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems, especially compared with alcohol and tobacco. Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults. Claims that marijuana is a gateway to more dangerous drugs are as fanciful as the “Reefer Madness” images of murder, rape and suicide.

Finally, state’s rights:

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.

At the very least, we think you’ll agree that this is a healthy conversation to have.

Now, thinking several steps ahead: which firms want to help bring the marijuana industry emerge from the shadows?