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Talk about front-page news: The New York Times published an article this Saturday entitled “Repeal Prohibition Again.” The article is significant for a number of reasons.
Most importantly, it calls for total legalization of cannabis, cannabis manufacture, and cannabis retail sales for adult consumers. Citing concerns about the development of adolescent brains, the article suggests mirroring the regulation in place for alcohol, allowing legal access for adults over the age of twenty-one.
This makes The New York Times the first large, respected newspaper in the country to officially throw its weight behind cannabis legalization. They briefly touch on the major issues of prohibition (its social cost, how ineffective it is, the racism inherent in its enforcement) and on cannabis itself (its low risk of addiction, risk of adolescent recreational use, etc), but in the end determine that legalization makes far more sense and has less social cost associated with it.
They didn’t just publish an opinion piece by a staff member or a powerful editorial by an activist: they ran the article on behalf of the Editorial Board of paper. Moreover, the article discusses the fact that the editorial board has been examining and considering this issue for some time. There is almost a sense of moral obligation about this article, as there should be. It is due time for the organizations tasked with presenting the public with news and opinion on said news to take an active role in dismantling the walls of ignorance their years of yellow journalism have helped to build.
While The New York Times has never been a pillar of prohibitionist propaganda, many other news organizations have been actively spreading misinformation for years. As more respected names in news, such as CNN and The New York Times, begin presenting the public with the truth about cannabis and the War on Drugs, support for legalization will only continue to grow.
Thankfully, The Times won’t be done with a one-off opinion piece; the article closes with a statement that they will be publishing a series of pieces over the upcoming weeks exploring how our country can legalize cannabis, how we can regulate cannabis, and how we can establish a retail market. Ladybud will be following this and other significant developments in mainstream media’s approach to cannabis.
Read more Ladybud analysis of mainstream media coverage of cannabis issues here.
Photo Credit: Haxorjoe under (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons