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New York Times Calls For Repeal Of Federal Pot Ban


Reading the New York Times
Robert Nicklesberg/ Getty Images

The New York Times came out in support of the nationwide legalization of marijuana in an editorial Saturday titled, “Repeal Prohibition, Again,” that compares the illegal status of pot to alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s and early ’30s, and calls marijuana, quote, “far less” dangerous than alcohol.

The editorial is critical of the social costs of marijuana laws, citing the hundreds of thousands of arrests for the drug every year, and calling it racist, saying it falls disproportionately on young black men, quote, “ruining their lives and creating new generations of career criminals.” It says the evidence is “overwhelming” that marijuana addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems, states that moderate use doesn’t appear to pose a risk for healthy adults, and calls the claim that marijuana is a gateway to more dangerous drugs “fanciful.” It did say, however, that there are legitimate concerns about the effect of marijuana on young people’s developing brains, so there should be a 21-year-old minimum age limit.

The Times’ editorial board editor, Andrew Rosenthal, was asked on ABC’s This Week Sunday if the newspaper’s position might send a signal that there’s nothing wrong with smoking pot. He answered, “We’re not urging people to smoke pot anymore than we are for them to drink alcohol or to smoke cigarettes. It’s just that making it illegal was creating a social cost for the country that was absolutely unacceptable.”

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