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New York Times: A call for legalizing marijuana

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With many states looking at whether or not marijuana should be legalized, the New York Times Editorial Board let it be know what side of the law “tokers” should be on. Huffington Post reported on Saturday, July 26, that the highly-respected newspaper has come out in support of legalizing marijuana on a federal level for those who are 21 years old and over.

This six-part series, "High Time: An Editorial Series on Marijuana Legalization,” will cover questions on how legalization would and could work. It is due to run from July 26 to August 5. The announcement compares this issue with Prohibition: Where the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol was illegal from 1920 to 1933 .

“There are no perfect answers to people’s legitimate concerns about marijuana use,” the article reads. “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.” The Times also points out that although there is addiction and dependence with marijuana, it is no where near the numbers as alcohol and tobacco.

There is a huge social aspect to the legalization of cannabis. In the article the Times states, “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.”

The Times is said to have been on the conservative side of legalization in the past. Articles included the health effects of a more potent form of marijuana in 2013 and Maureen Dowd’s “bad trip” earlier this year.

The first article of this editorial series, “Let States Decide on Marijuana,” highlights when marijuana became illegal under Nixon. The law lists marijuana, or as written in the document as “marihuana,” “in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act alongside some of the most dangerous and mind-altering drugs on earth, ranked as high as heroin, LSD and bufotenine, a highly toxic and hallucinogenic toad venom that can cause cardiac arrest. By contrast, cocaine and methamphetamine are a notch down on the government’s rankings, listed in Schedule II.”

It article states that 76 percent of the US population live under relaxed marijuana laws. The article also goes over states being the ones to decide on marijuana, what part Washington plays and what needs to be done to make it legal on a federal level.

If you would like to follow the pros and cons of this debate and or participate in the discussion, the New York Times Editorial Board encourages you to check out the series.

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