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July 27, 2014

New York Times: "on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization" of marijuana

NYTThe title of this is drawn from the heart of this this important new New York Times editorial calling for the legalization of marijuana.  The editorial is headlined "Repeal Prohibition, Again," and it kicks off a series of pieces about marijuana law and policy.  Here are excerpts from the editorial:

The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana. We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.

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.

We considered whether it would be best for Washington to hold back while the states continued experimenting with legalizing medicinal uses of marijuana, reducing penalties, or even simply legalizing all use. Nearly three-quarters of the states have done one of these.

But that would leave their citizens vulnerable to the whims of whoever happens to be in the White House and chooses to enforce or not enforce the federal law.

The social costs of the marijuana laws are vast. 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....

Creating systems for regulating manufacture, sale and marketing will be complex. But those problems are solvable, and would have long been dealt with had we as a nation not clung to the decision to make marijuana production and use a federal crime.

In coming days, we will publish articles by members of the Editorial Board and supplementary material that will examine these questions. We invite readers to offer their ideas, and we will report back on their responses, pro and con.

We recognize that this Congress is as unlikely to take action on marijuana as it has been on other big issues. But it is long past time to repeal this version of Prohibition.

I will be covering this notable editorial development, reactions to it, and the coming Times series more fully at Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform.

July 27, 2014 at 01:01 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Kudos to the New York High Times...

Posted by: Cheech | Jul 27, 2014 2:42:53 PM

As a teacher, I am most appreciative of the deserved slack that will be given all my High school students.

Posted by: Delores | Jul 27, 2014 2:47:10 PM

They are here all week folks.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 27, 2014 5:13:29 PM

Whoah, look who is here... it's my old buddy Cheech. (takes a toke.) How are things in East LA? Or have you moved on out to Denver?

Posted by: Chong | Jul 27, 2014 5:24:58 PM

A much better piece on the topic here:

http://www.hudson.org/research/10478-comparing-alcohol-and-marijuana-seriously-

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jul 28, 2014 8:40:09 AM

Good for the Times.

But if the editorial board has its way, what will become of all the roid-raged, badge-heavy adrenalin junkies? With fewer doors to kick in, fewer families to terrify and less valuable property to confiscate...what will the cops/agents do for kicks and cash?

What is to become of all the surplus prison guards who stand to loose their jobs? How will local sheriffs and DA boost their careers without the splashy big-bust headlines? Could be a dark day indeed for law enforcement and the for-profit prison industry.

Posted by: John K | Jul 28, 2014 12:40:26 PM

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