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Why the NY Times’ Editorial Series Calling for Marijuana Legalization Is Such a Big Deal

The New York Times editorial board made history yesterday, as the first major national paper to call for an end to marijuana prohibition. And how they did it is half the story – with rare flash and panache, as well as the intellectual and moral substance to back it up.

The Times’ editorial has the feel of legendary CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite coming out against the Vietnam war. They dropped a bomb on our country’s disastrous war on marijuana with unprecedented force.

Some people think of the Times’ editorial page as a liberal mouthpiece – but when it comes to marijuana prohibition and the drug war, they’ve been extremely cautious and conservative.  In previous decades, the Times did as much as any other media outlet to legitimize drug war hysteria and its disastrous policies.

For them to pull no punches in rejecting the prohibitionist policies that their predecessors embraced speaks to the broader inter-generational transformation underway in America – not just with the issue of ending marijuana prohibition, but also LGBT rights and other issues as well.  It gives us hope that America can evolve, both morally and intellectually, in a more enlightened direction.

By Tony Newman
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