In an editorial that went online tonight and will be in the print edition of Sunday’s paper, the New York Times editorial board has called on our country’s leaders in Washington to end the federal ban on marijuana, likening it to a modern day version of Prohibition.
Writes the Times editorial board:
It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.
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.
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.
There is honest debate among scientists about the health effects of marijuana, but we believe that the evidence is overwhelming that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems, especially compared with alcohol and tobacco. Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults. Claims that marijuana is a gateway to more dangerous drugs are as fanciful as the “Reefer Madness” images of murder, rape and suicide.
So basically the Times is just saying everything anyone reading this probably already knows, except it’s a big deal because it’s the New York Times saying it, not High Times or some dumb website.
Oh, and if you were wondering if the Old Grey Lady has a sense of humor about all of this, please note the time of their live chat.
Read the whole thing here.