At The Times, A Call To Legalize Marijuana (Except At The Times)

At The Times, A Call To Legalize Marijuana (Except At The Times)

Did you hear that the editorial board of the New York Times is calling on Congress to repeal Prohibition 2.0 and allow adult U.S. Americans to smoke 'em if you got 'em?

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.

It's a fairly Bold! stand for the Times to take, and bravo and clap clap clap to the editors for recognizing what a growing number of Americans already know: that prohibition on marijuana is as stupid, expensive, and pointless as the oldey times days of prohibition on alcohol, so let's stop doing that now, okay?

It's an especially Bold!!! stand for the Times, given its recent Reefer Madness reporting about how Colorado is maybe going to hell in a hemp-woven hand basket, since it legalized recreational use. That's according to some totally not biased organizations that oppose legalizations and also based on a few sketchy anecdotes about some dudes getting way too high and doing crimes, even though the Times acknowledged in the same article that "there is scant hard data," and also violent crime is down in Denver, and also, per the State Patrol, "marijuana-impaired drivers have made up about 12.5 percent of all citations for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol," which, for those of you doing the back-of-the-cocktail-napkin math, means the overwhelming majority of effed up drivers on the road are getting effed up on perfectly legal booze, but no one is seriously asking whether it really is safe for booze to be legal, which is different somehow because reasons. Shut up, REASONS!

And of course no one can drink enough bleach to ever forget the painfully-bad-even-for-her column by Maureen Dowd, about that one time at band camp that she got super high on a marijuana chocolate bar -- a diversion from her usual preferred "more mundane drugs of choice, chardonnay and mediocre-movies-on-demand" -- and spent hours tripping balls in a hotel room because no one had told her not to eat the whole damned candy bar, even though, presumably no one has ever told her not to drink the whole bottle of chardonnay either, especially not when she is writing her cute little columns with her oh-so-clever nicknames and patented pettiness, although maybe someone should.

So hooray for the editorial board of the Times for ignoring its own pages and recognizing that it is HIGH time (get it? high time? get it?) to end our outrageously expensive and also a little bit very racist war on stoners who, despite the oooooh scary reefer madness anecdotes, are a mostly harmless bunch whose greatest crime is usually eating the WHOLE late-night delivered pizza and laughing at cartoons.

But sigh and alas, the Times is not willing to follow its own prescription (or as the medical marijuana industry calls it, "recommendation," since marijuana is not FDA-approved).

But the editorial board’s new stance doesn’t mean incoming Times employees can partake. As Gawker recently noted, the Times is one of several big media companies that require prospective hires to take a drug test. A Times spokeswoman told HuffPost that the paper's policy for drug testing hasn’t changed, despite the editorial board's decision.

“Our corporate policy on this issue reflects current law,” the spokeswoman said. “We aren't going to get into details beyond that.”

While one might point out that the editorial board does not dictate corporate policy, and one would be correct in said pointing, one might also laugh out loud because there is no "current law" requiring the Times to drug test potential employees, and one might also laugh even harder at the idea that people who write words for a living can only do so if they are drug-free, because come on, writers and drugs go together like chocolate and peanut butter, and one might also wonder why the Times would worry about its employees doing drugs but not have a problem with Maureen Dowd's Not So Excellent Marijuana Adventure "for journalism," or, for that matter, why the Times would not have a problem with Maureen Dowd in general, but that's a gripe for another day.

Editorial Page Editor Andy Rosenthal confessed on Sunday that he has smoked the marijuana and has never asked, and doesn't care, if his employees smoke the marijuana, because seriously, WHO CARES? Excellent point, Andy, so perhaps you might send an internal office memo to the corporate policy deciders of the Times so that everyone -- not just you and MoDo -- can have the freedom to smoke or ingest all the drugs they want if they want because seriously, WHO CARES?

Editor Rosenthal may want to cc David Brooks on that memo while he's at it, and then maybe Brooks can forward it to his listserve of Very Serious Pundits who are still convinced that reefer madness, unlike their three-martini lunches, will destroy America.

One, the effects on the teenage brain really are pretty significant. They acknowledge that in the editorial. And I just don't think we can sanction, say, "Adults, fine. But if you're 18, you can't do it." That's just not going to work I don't think. Second, I just don't think the government should be sanctioning activity that most of us mature out of, most of us age out of.

A person whose teenage brain was not significantly affected by the marijuana and can still form basic thoughts might ask Brooks to explain how we've managed to sanction boozing for adults but not for not-adults, and somehow that has sort of kind of worked, although even not-adults still booze pretty hard and they also do lots of other things adults tell them not to do, with the sexting and the pull up your goddamn pants and stop taking selfies at concentration camps and whatnot, because they are teenagers, and teenagers are THE WORST.

Even a person whose teenage brain was significantly affected by the marijuana could probably figure out that David Brooks should shut his stuffy button-down piehole with that "real grown-ups don't do weed" nonsense. Plenty of grown-ups do weed. I can name a long list of accomplished, capable, smart grown-ups who do weed, but I will not do that because many of those grown-ups have to hide in the grow closet so pretentious schmucks like David Brooks don't chastise them for not "maturing" out of doing weed, whatever the hell that is supposed to mean.

TPM also mentions some other Very Serious People who are Very Concerned about the end of civilization as we know it if Editorial Page Editor Andy Rosenthal is allowed to say, "Not only have I smoked weed, but I smoked some just last night, and it was great!"

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said at the time he didn't "get the legalization thing" and offered a pithy defense of prohibition.

"Pot just makes you dumb," he said.

Former Newsweek/Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown said that "legal weed" will make the United States "a fatter, dumber, sleepier nation even less able to compete with the Chinese."

God forbid anyone should contradict Joe and Tina, but there is plenty of dumb out there that cannot be blamed on pot. See, for example, Joe and Tina. Also, too, even if pot makes you fat and stupid, so does watching Fox "News" and eating Big Macs, but last time I checked, none of these Very Serious People were on the Sunday shows pearl-clutching about that. Also too furthermore, for those who have not smoked away their long-term memories, recall that Michael Phelps has been known to take hits from the bong, and he's the fastest swimming motherfucker on the planet, and he is not fat or dumb and can compete with the Chinese just fine, thanks, and he has eleventeen trillion gold medals to prove it, so, you know. There's that.

Anyway, what was my point? I forgot on account of all the marijuana I have done. Oh right. Congratulations to the editorial board of the Times for doing the right thing. Boo and hiss to the corporate policy-makers of the Times for not doing the right thing. And please fuck ALL the way off, David and Joe and Tina and MoDo and all the other smug bastards who no doubt think sipping expensive cocktails is quite mature and acceptable, but there is simply no reason at all -- unless, of course, you consider ALL the reasons, like the absurd way our criminal justice wastes time and countless monies enforcing a pointless law against a pretty harmless drug; like all of the miraculous medical applications of marijuana, which is why even the most conservative doctors have been recommending it on the sly to their patients since FOREVER; like how this is America, and we allow adults to engage in all sorts of vices and as far as vices go, marijuana is much better and safer than booze or smokes or the golden arches -- to pull the prohibition stick out of our collective asses and allow grown-ups to smoke drugs if they want to smoke drugs because ENOUGH ALREADY.


Follow Kaili Joy Gray on Twitter. She may or may not be high on weed. For a friend. Allegedly.


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