New York Times editorial board advocates marijuana use - CBS46 News

New York Times editorial board advocates marijuana use

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Courtesy: DEA Courtesy: DEA
ATLANTA (CBS) -

The New York Times is getting heat for saying it should be OK for you to get high.

After voters in Colorado and Washington state gave the green light for recreational use, The Times' editorial board now wants the rest of the country to have the same opportunity.

The New York Times has released three opinion pieces in a series of six on the legalization of medical marijuana.

The Times is confronting this head on saying it's time for the federal government to let states decide.

The Times staked its position with the headline "REPEAL PROHIBITION, AGAIN"…and an American flag-with stars changing to marijuana leaves.

David Firestone is a member of the Times editorial board.

"I don't see it as being any different than having a couple of glasses of wine with dinner, or a martini. If you wanna make that choice as an adult, you should be allowed to make it," said Firestone.

The editorial argues that the war on pot is actually worse for America than using pot…saying "the social costs of marijuana laws are vast," and "the result is racist," noting that enforcement falls "disproportionately on young black men."

Urging Congress to repeal the federal marijuana ban, it also discounts the health effects, saying marijuana is "far less dangerous than alcohol."

It may seem like edgy stuff from the so-called "paper of record," but it reflects a sharp shift in public opinion.

In the early '90s then candidate Bill Clinton famously said, "I didn't inhale."

Most people then -78 percent--opposed legalization. But now, only 42 percent oppose it.

In recent years 37 states plus the District of Columbia have liberalized marijuana laws to allow for medical use or to lessen penalties for possession.

The real change started in Colorado-where voters approved the sale of marijuana for recreational use, but there have been problems.

Legalization has been linked to at least two deaths -- as well as incidents of children accidentally ingesting marijuana-laced food.

And staunch critics of legalization like Kevin Sabet, founder of the group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, say groups calling for legalization like New York Times are wrong.

"What the NYT is calling for is a really radical move that counters all the major medical associations that have looked at this, and it wouldn't be good for America. Do we really want to encourage a stoned society?" asks Sabet.

Read the NYT editorials:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/07/27/opinion/sunday/high-time-marijuana-legalization.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/opinion/sunday/high-time-the-public-lightens-up-about-weed.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/opinion/sunday/high-time-let-states-decide-on-marijuana.html

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