Two of the Largest American Newspapers Opine in Favor of Allowing States to Legalize Marijuana

In the wake of the historic votes for marijuana law reform on November 6th, there has been a renewed focus on the topic and a shift in tone amongst the mainstream media. While previously, many outlets have either covered our efforts with a wink and a nod (or didn’t cover them at all), now that two states have called for the end of marijuana prohibition, reporters are rushing to cover the story. Along the way it seems they are also getting a crash course education in the concepts of civil liberties, federalism, and the disasters of our country’s prohibition on cannabis. Many are beginning to wake up to the reality that we have long identified: cannabis prohibition is a failed policy that has destructive effects on our society and these effects can be remedied by legalization and regulation.

Look no further for a sign of the changing times than editorials featured this weekend by two of the United States’ largest newspapers, the New York Times and the Washington Post. Both papers featured columns from their staff opining in favor of marijuana law reform. It seems the days of traditionally conservative editorial boards writing against cannabis law reforms may be coming to an end.

There is a seismic shift happening in the national consciousness on marijuana policy in response to the legalization of cannabis in Colorado and Washington, we are winning new converts by the day and those previously afraid to speak out are now doing so with passion and vigor. This recent influx of mainstream media outlets jumping on board with reform is just the beginning of the avalanche of change that is to come.

The New York Times by Timothy Egan, NYT Opinion Writer:

Give Pot a Chance

For what stands between ending this absurd front in the dead-ender war on drugs and the status quo is the federal government. It could intervene, citing the supremacy of federal law that still classifies marijuana as a dangerous drug.

But it shouldn’t. Social revolutions in a democracy, especially ones that begin with voters, should not be lightly dismissed. Forget all the lame jokes about Cheetos and Cheech and Chong. In the two-and-a-half weeks since a pair of progressive Western states sent a message that arresting 853,000 people a year for marijuana offenses is an insult to a country built on individual freedom, a whiff of positive, even monumental change is in the air.

…there remains the big question of how President Obama will handle the cannabis spring. So far, he and Attorney General Eric Holder have been silent. I take that as a good sign, and certainly a departure from the hard-line position they took when California voters were considering legalization a few years ago.


The Washington Post by Washington Post Editorial Board:

Marijuana’s Foot in the Door

…Or the Justice Department could keep its hands off, perhaps continuing the approach the feds have largely taken for some time — focusing scarce resources on major violators, such as big growers that might serve multi-state markets, cultivators using public lands or dispensaries near schools. The last option is clearly best.

But it’s unrealistic and unwise to expect federal officials to pick up the slack left by state law- enforcement officers who used to enforce marijuana prohibitions against pot users and small-time growers. Unrealistic, because it would require lots more resources. Unwise, because filling prisons with users, each given a criminal stain on his or her record, has long been irrational. For the latter reason, we favor decriminalizing possession of small amounts of pot, assessing civil fines instead of locking people up.

Also, for that reason and others, the Justice Department should hold its fire on a lawsuit challenging Colorado and Washington’s decision to behave more leniently. And state officials involved in good-faith efforts to regulate marijuana production and distribution according to state laws should be explicitly excused from federal targeting.


55 thoughts

  1. it is much needed here in USA to keep billions of $$$$$ leaving the country and take it out of hands of gangs and drug lords ive smoked it 45yrs and have never had a problem health wise driving wise iv haad HEPC from tranfusion,on verge of liver cancer interferon isnt an option in my case as a child, and it is the only thing ive found that works on flu like symtoms and its also very good for many other ailment mental and physical thus a cheap treatment so should save medicare and medicaid billions ,i think our society is ready for this now with legal gay marriages and a society of reckless drink youths much safer for all ,GOD BLESS

  2. Finally this country has seen the light of day!! There is a serious problem when tobacco & alcohol are legal drugs & cannabis remains illegal in our great country. The significant damage that alcohol causes both to the consumer & society is unparalleled to any other substance known. How many crimes, vehicular homicides, rapes, domestic violence issues, etc occur with alcohol use? When was the last time someone smoking a joint killed someone with their vehicle or caused a disturbance in public.
    Cannabis aids in sleep, reduction of nausea, reduction in pain, eye pressure, anxiety, manic symptoms, increases appetite in chemotherapy….these are only a few of the benefits. The only recognized side effects are drowsiness, increased appetite & euphoria. It has not been proven addictive or a “gateway” drug to harsher substances. That is not the case with tobacco & alcohol.

  3. Thank God people are starting to come around to understanding what many of us have already know, all too well, for many many years! It truly seems that marijuana prohibition just might end soon and that will be a day to celebrate with as much, or more, enthusiasm as we celebrate July 4th (Independence Day).

    For millions of us, when that day comes, it will be equally as important as that great day in American history. That will be the day Americans get a bit of their hard-earned freedoms returned to them.

  4. It’s a shame it took an economic collapse to force opining against the cruel, insane prohibition of marijuana. I’d like to see the ideologue zealots at the ONDCP replaced with folks competent to formulate science based policies. To me thwarting the advance of medical science as they’ve done with activities against medical marijuana is nothing short of a crime against humanity.

    I sure hope Obama and Holder have come across the statements of original drug war zealot, Harry J. Anslinger, who testified before Congress that the main reason for making marijuana illegal was its effect on the ‘degenerate races’. Just in case anyone has any doubt who he’s refering to, he went on to opine, ‘When a black man smokes marijuana, he thinks he’s just as good as a white man.’

  5. I really enjoyed to see two great newspapers of America in favor of marijuana legalization.
    Those are welcomed and precious allies in the war on drugs.However and I am sure most readers should agree on that,marijuana should only be legalized for what it is and nothing else.It should not be legalized because it was written in the newspapers that It ought to be or because it will help boost the economy eventhough it will,but it should be legalized because it does have true usefulness like therapeutic values,recreational values,etc,etc.

  6. Keep the momentum going. We have not achieved critical mass. Keep dangling the money out in front of them.

    American exceptionalism will have to take precedent over international treaties prohibiting legalization. With legalization happening in the U.S. efforts need to be made to find a way for other countries who don’t have the exceptionalism clout internationally to opt out of the chains of cannabis prohibition by international treaty.

    Any thoughts on that? How many countries or which countries need to get together in the U.N. for W.H.O. and whoever the hell else internationally to get the hell out of the way? It’s a shit way to go not to change anything yet have no sanctions for countries that do legalize while simply ignoring the international prohibition. It’s shit to still have cannabis prohibition by international treaty and still in place and at the same time completely look the other way to legalization. Either one will work. It’s just that one is less hypocritical, less whatever.



    Pink Floyd

  7. The Fed’s claim to it being a harmful drug got this response which i thought was not only true but very clever ;

    dnahatch1 wrote:

    11:50 AM PST

    Marijuana can be harmful? How, exactly? It’s never killed anyone, it’s not physically addictive, and there is no overdose level. The dangers of legal stimulants such as tobacco, alcohol, and painkillers are varied and well-known but on the subject of marijuana, the self-proclaimed authorities have proven nothing but feel their word is enough. New medical uses for marijuana are being found constantly but our corrupt leaders in Washington are paid well by DuPont and Big Pharma to deny all positive reports and stick to the 1930’s legend that marijuana causes insanity in anyone except wealthy college students.

  8. Oh wow, this is HUGE. I just happened to realize – the big TV news networks aren’t saying boo. Even our local news here has said nothing but the expected “wink and nod” crap, albeit it’s in a tone more towards the good guys for a change. Anywho, my thoughts are; 2 states legalize, and all of a sudden you have several others showing a desire for it. Now that 2 newspapers have jumped on baord with the pro-side of the debate, I wonder how many other news sources will follow suit. Betcha a bunch do, now. I predict it won’t be long before news talk-shows like Hannety will be publicly supportive. In other words, now that two of the big boys of coverage have come out in favor, it can only improve for us from here as far as media support. I don’t think it’ll be long before approval among all voters will be at 55%, then 60%, then on up. It’s nothing but an uphill battle for the prohibs now, hee-hee, haw-haw. Now the shoe’s on the other foot, and it’s the People’s turn at controlling the Republic’s policies (how it should be in every aspect).

  9. So our nations so called free press is no longer just a goverment mouth-piece. And the feds? We just wanted people to quit, and did not mean for anyone to get hurt, sure….

  10. Remember we have OPERATION OVERGROW at our disposal. IF? the Feds continue their draconian ways we will plant ONE BILLION Marijuana seeds on very square inch of public land in Washington DC this spring. Imagine millions of little pot plants growing in the shadow of the Washington mall.

  11. I fear that big pharma is gonna put billions of dollars to government, to get them to just reschedule from 1 to something like at 2 to 6 which just gives complete control to FDA and big pharmaceutical company’s…Its pretty sad that our voices are gonna be muffled over money in the coming future

  12. Not only is there a light at the end of the tunnel, but there is a soft glow on the DARK SIDE OF THE MOON. Will the beacon of hope shine on as marijuana legislation advances from state to state or will the FEDERALISTS and the 21ST CENTURY INQUISITORS repair their stratagies and continue on the battle of MARIJUANA PROHIBITION. What about the KING OF THE WHITEHOUSE has in mind for the monarchy and our Constitutional rights. HOW will the coin toss land? Power to the mainstream media who are out there for the REAL GREEN TRUTH instead of support for the ORWELLIAN STATE OF FEDERAL UTOPIAISM and their version of FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. HAIL TO THE MONARCHY!

  13. The next thing you know MSNBC and Fox will claim they knew marijuana prohibition was wrong all the time and all the stupid pot humor was because they were high.

  14. @Peter – The Feds also claim that there is a high potential for abuse of marijuana. In their opinion any actual use of it (vaping, edibles, smoking…) is abuse. In my opinion, the Feds themselves are the only ones abusing it by destroying it every chance they get – that is abuse and they are the ones guilty of it!

  15. Off topic but I have a question. Washington, DC has approved medical cannabis. Isn’t the District of Columbia federal land and under congressional control? What separates DC from the states?

    I’m confused… if DC is federal and medical marijuana is approved there then isn’t the federal government contradicting its self by saying states don’t have the right to medical cannabis but they do?

    I would think DC would be the LAST place for legal medical cannabis. It’s like having a cannabis green card for politicians in DC isn’t it? Why should they care about changing the laws when they have the option to use without too much hassle in DC?

    The US Capital should be setting the example for all states so why isn’t medical cannabis made federally legal in all states? Change the scheduling etc.…

    Please educate me…

  16. worse part even if they legalize it for 21 and older , Texas would never allow it O_o least we can carry are 454 casual suppression lazer point flash light pistols !

  17. It’s pretty much a sad truth now, but feds and really many police figures are caught using bud and have been for a while. Of course to keep their jobs they must do it in more secret then your average joe. More recently Feds and police officials are usually required to randomly distribute urine tests. So really it makes perfect sense for the capital of our country and a well known area full of feds to legalize green for medicinal purposes. Now they can keep fighting to keep it illegal but still have a loop hole so they can also enjoy it for themselves. This is of course just a theory but highly possible.
    Why would they ever want to legalize it now? A good portion of the country still thinks cannabis is just as bad as meth or x or any of the terrible drugs that truly fry your mind, so they have those misunderstood people’s support. Plus the amount of money they get out of each arrest is a gravy train. Hopefully someday everyone will come to understand it was a plant put on this earth for medicine, yes it can be abused but so can caffeine, alcohol, or your every day prescription. It’s all a matter of self control 🙂

  18. Louisiana not California was the first state to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes in 1992. California did in 1996. West’s Louisiana statutes R.S.40:1021 B. The secretary of health and hospitals, by January 1, 1992, shall promulgate rules and regulations, authorizing physicians licensed to practice in this state to prescribe marijuana for therapeutic use by patients….
    The first to legalize the last to promulgate or make known the rules and regulations. Go figure, right! R.S.40:1034 B. It shall be an affirmative defensethat the person … had a prescription from a licensed medical practitioner or psychiatrist for marijuana. You would think by now the secretary of health and hospitals would have faxed or e-mailed another states for their guidelins? I guess that’s why they call us uneducated and corrupt! Oh well, whatever.

  19. @Drifter – I don’t know the answer to your question about Wash DC for certain but I’d like to submit a guess. It is because they are total hypocrites! They like telling others what to do but don’t necessarily do it themselves. You know the old saying: “Do as I say, not as I do!”

    I’ve never gotten over how stupid their free speech argument somehow allows pornography. I can only surmise that it is because they found a kind of loophole to continue something they secretly enjoy. Pornography has nothing to do with free speech in any way shape or form. It’s just how they seem to think.

  20. Nice to see the media is finally coming round to a consistent fairly accurate view on marijuana. I live in the UK where all Newspapers and broadcast media feel the need to peddle lies on this subject. Even if a realistic item appears they feel the need to surround it with the most ridiculous unsubstantiated nonsense (so long as it is negative the burden of proof is almost non-existent).
    Major newspapers and television news really do shape opinions – if they have changed then change is here to stay since the majority will follow what they say. The USA has come a long way on this matter even if you are not quite where you want to be yet.

  21. Drifter, DC is locally run. They have their own mayor and city council, ect. Remember, they had a crack head mayor who actually got reelected after being busting with a ho and some coke? Its like a punch line in a bad joke 🙁

    Anyway, the feds run the Federal Government from DC, they don’t run DC. Got it? Everywhere you go in America, you’re in two or three different governments in effect with different laws; there are local, county, state, and federal governments all doing their own things.

  22. Think of how many different industries would spring up if Cannabis were at least de-criminalized. That would truly be a Green Revolution! I would really like to see Hemp made totally legal. No one would be unemployed!

  23. Stop the Greed Free the Weed
    Man made alchohol and pharmacuticals
    God made marijuana
    Who do you trust.
    I am sure there is more but I dont need to beat a dead horse people are waking up to the truth Marijuana was made illegal because minorities smoked it and worked for the competition. Dupont Chemical didnt like it so they bankrolled the most insidious propaganda film of all time “Reefer madness” to sway the minds of the nation. Wake up America the money changers and corporate fatcats have pulled the wool over your eyes. NOW folks are starting to strip away the Boloney. Long live the wise and free

  24. I really don’t think that the federal government is going to allow pot to just be legalized. I think that in the end we will have fought a loosing battle. I hate that I believe that that’s the truth but I don’t think things are going to work out in marijuana’s favor.

  25. “For the latter reason, we favor decriminalizing possession of small amounts of pot, assessing civil fines instead of locking people up.”

    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

    No fines. Totally legal, like coffee or diapers.

  26. @Galileo Galilei

    Alcohol prohibition ended under similiar hard economic conditions, “The Great Depression.”

    So, I’m not surprised it took the “Great Recession” to create the momentum necessary to end marijuana prohibition.

  27. the feds also took aim at the mexicans coming to smoke pot. harry anslinger adopted the machine gun tax on pot. Like the machine gun, a person had to have the product in hand to get a stamp. well with the pot in hand you are violating the law because you did not yet have the stamp. harry also told randolf hearst to write propaganda about pot. he knew pot makes paper and harry told him his forests for paper were going by the way of hemp paper. the consperacy worked only too well.

  28. I would like to see what fed cuts occur in the office of drugs along with the DEA!! Congress talks about waste, what about the waste on this war. If we go over the fiscal cliff, maybe the money will stop flowing.

  29. To all remember it is legal in DC. That is where they determine what they think is best for us. Some politicians are trying to do the right thing for us, I’d rather them put it on the ballet each year and then they can say “X” amount of the population wants it. Then they can judge for themselves what we the people their bosses want. Remember they work for us really.

  30. In light of everything I have seen regarding marijuana reform the one thing that I don’t get is the ignorance of the opposition. I heard one person say that marijuana kills thousands of people each year, then was asked to provide evidence of this and the simple said “I can’t”. People are concerned with dispensaries to close to schools. Why? They are no more harmful to students then pharmacies or stores that sell cigarettes, beer & wine. It’s not like people are going to come directly out of these stores with motivation to sell to students. If kids really wanna do drugs they will find them. The next biggest idiotic thing I’ve heard is “Legalizing medical marijuana is just a loop hole for stoners to get weed legally.” This maybe true, but isn’t it also true for anybody who fakes ailment to get prescription drugs? I mean just look at Florida they are the number one in illegal prescription drug trade. Last time I checked more people are dying from hydrocodone overdoses, then marijuana overdoses. Know the facts people, educated the brainwashed and help end marijuana prohibition on a world level.

  31. @Robert
    Remember, it is not up to the government. It is up to the people how we live and what we do. To long people have lived in fear of what the government says and to long we have acted like there is nothing we can do about it. We can vote, get people in office that can do what the people want, not corporation that push special interest through lobbying. We must push our congressmen to amend the constitution in our favor and turn the government back into to a service of the public. We must end this oppression, a government should fear it’s people, not the other way around.

  32. Before too long it will be common knowledge that Cannabis prohibition (you should always capitalize the word Cannabis :)) was one of the biggest, nonsensical, and outright ridiculous mistakes of mankind. People will be saying things like, “I’m surprised water wasn’t illegal.” Check out the Alexandria Datig video on her website. It’s friggin hilarious!

  33. Most people don’t really know the story behind marijuana being illegal. It was a business decision headed by conspirators in the private business sector with support by the government. Mellon, Hearst, Dupont and Anslinger. Know those names?

    Understanding that marijuana is illegal because of a conspiracy on the people is most important to overturning this archaic law. Hearst and Dupont were the main conspirators. Hearst didn’t want competition for his pulp business and Dupont was about to introduce Nylon. Hemp was used for hundreds of years to make rope, paper and other products. Hemp was grown by George Washington, Jefferson and many other farmers back in the day. Hemp is as strong or stronger than Nylon. Hemp can produce more pulp in an equal amount of land than pulp trees. Hearst, Dupont, Anslinger and Mellon all conspired and convinced Americans that Marijuana was a devil weed (Refer Madness, the yellow journalism written by Hearst and published in his newspapers)mislead millions of people about Marijuana. Here is an little video supporting my statements.

    If NORML is really pushing this legalization then expose it for what it really is, corruption and collusion by big business, big pharma, alcohol, tobacco and government. Declaring a crop like Marijuana as illegal is asinine but, then again who is running our government, corrupt politicians, big business, big pharma. Yes, our government is in collusion with those industries. I forgot to mention the prison industrial complex. Yes, it’s a BIG CONSPIRACY.

    NORML,alter your attack a little. Publicize the real reasons Marijuana is illegal. Let the world know it was a business decision and not any contrived addictive or harmful effects as fabricated. The DEA is an arm of the industries mentioned. Drugs like Oxycotin are on the approved market are more harmful than any plant. Marijuana as a schedule 1 drug on the DEA list is totally stupid. But, lets’ not forget who is behind keeping it illegal to use or grow, four dead greedy men.

    How can you tell the difference between a drunk driver and a driver high on pot? The drunk is all over the road while a pot smoker drives in the slow lane with a bad case of the munchies!

    [Editor’s note: You’re incorrect about some big conspiracy to make cannabis illegal. All the things you claim re Hearst, DuPont, Anslinger is not supported at all by history.

    BTW, the state of MA banned cannabis in 1911….long before your supposed conspiracy falls into place.

    NORML suggests you read cannabis-related historical info from the deceased Yale professor David Musto (author of ‘The American Disease: Origins of Narcotic Control’) or an essay from Dr. Dale Gieringer of CA NORML here.)]

  34. Yeah James, and that is without the “protection” of it being a legal drug. It is so safe, even illegal, it still has a higher safety record than many legal drugs. Anti-marijuana laws are perfectly good examples of corruption protected by law.

  35. This is a natural, God-given plant. It has already shown proven to possess many miraculous medicinal qualities. It is also safe for recreational use and is non-addictive. It could turn our economy around for the better if legalized. Even more importantly, prohibition (in my opinion), is a direct violation of our civil liberties due to corruption and ignorance. It should be legalized for everyone who chooses to possess it; including cultivation.

  36. It’s wonderful to see prohibition crumbling after 40 years. It’s sad that the basic principle underlying the impropriety of the “War on Drugs” is still being ignored. In the case of cannabis especially, it is no business whatsoever of the government if a citizen chooses to cultivate, possess and consume a substance on private property. The current changes are just as unconstitutional as prohibition. Cannabis can be cultivated as both a food and fiber source without high enough levels of THC provide psychoactive effects when smoked. US citizens have just as much right to grow cannabis for personal consumption as tomatoes or other plants.


    “From a survey of contemporary newspaper and periodical commentary we have concluded that there were three major influences. The most prominent was racial prejudice. During this period, marijuana legislation was generally a regional phenomenon present in the southern and western states. Use of the drug was primarily limited to Mexican-Americans who were immigrating in increased numbers to those states. These movements were well noted in the press accounts of passage of marijuana legislation. A second factor was the assumption that marijuana, which was presumed to be an addictive drug, would be utilized as a substitute for narcotics and alcohol then prohibited by national policy. This factor was particularly significant in the New York law, the forerunner of nationwide anti-marijuana legislation. Finally, there is some evidence that coverage of the drug by the Geneva Conventions in 1925 was publicized in this country and may have had some influence.”

  38. Charles Waller, how do we convince the Demos and Rebubs that they don’t own us, nor can they control every little bit of our lives??? It would seem to be the credo they live by. Vote for us, so we can tell you what you can’t do. We have two parties which promote everything except for liberty and they hate the constitution.

    I think it’s funny when I hear buffoons talking about how people in other countries hate us for our freedom. If we were really free, we’d make paper from hemp and let the forest live. They don’t hate our “freedoms”, they hate our bullshit and lack of responsibility which is written into our laws.

  39. I’m still looking forward to the day that it’s legal without havig limits. I’m not sure that I understand this reasoning that everybody has that they need to limit the amount you can have. “You can have an ounce, but any more and we’ll have to punish you.” What the Hell is that? What if a person has five ounces or ten ounces? Because then he’s trafficking right? But I guess it’s okay to traffick an ounce a day and make $45 off of eight people for an eighth every couple hours. My point is that anybody can still have an once on his person and still sell all day long. All he needs to do is go back to his residence and grab another ounce when he’s out. He can still a pound a day if he wants. Imagine if when they legalized alcohol that they said that you couldn’t possess any more than a 12-pack at any given time. This is just dumb. And in Washington you can’t grow it. Why? It’s OK but it’s not OK. Makes total sense to me. This is just dumb.

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