New York Times editorial calls for federal government to legalize cannabis

By Mihir Shah,

The New York Times decided to take a step forward and push for the legalization of marijuana throughout the U.S. The newspaper's editorial board also believes that the negatives of the substance outweigh the positives.

The editorial board compared today to Prohibition during the 1920s. It took 13 years for this country to end that, and during that time, people kept drinking, turning law-abiding citizens in to criminals and violence violence flourished throughout this country. It has also been over 40 years since Congress banned cannabis, hurting society by prohibiting a substance that is much safer to use than alcohol.

There are big social costs to marijuana laws. According to the FBI, in 2012, there were 658,000 people arrested for marijuana compared with 256,000 for cocaine, heroin and other hard drugs. What is worse is that it is clear that more young black males are arrested, ruining their lives and leading to an era of career criminals.

The editorial also mentions that marijuana addiction and dependence are minor issues, especially when compared to alcohol and tobacco. There is no risk health with moderate use of marijuana for adults.

The Huffington Post notes that the Times is one of the papers of record in the U.S., so the editorial marks a major shift in thinking, at least in the Times' newsroom.

Back in 2012, President Obama said that prosecuting pot users in the legalized states is not a top priority for his administration. "We've got bigger fish to fry," he told Barbara Walters that year.

This endorsement from the New York Times editorial board is another key voice to sound for a change in how people think about marijuana.

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