The New York Times editorial board thinks it’s time our government finally legalizes weed.
In a seven-part editorial series titled “High Times: Repeal Prohibition, Again,” NYT editors are throwing their support behind federal legalization of marijuana, and instead allowing each state to determine its own rules and regulations. The series – which has so far posted three of the seven chapters – paints a grim picture of how the nation’s current stance on marijuana has led to overcrowded prisons, broken homes and far-reaching racial and economic imbalance.
Moreover, in states like Washington and Colorado where marijuana is now legal and legitimate selling operations are widespread, the issue of whether or not to free those currently serving prison sentences for possession and use is becoming a heated debate. This debate is compounded when analyzed under the microscope of race:
“In recent years, public acceptance of marijuana has grown significantly. Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia now permit some form of medical marijuana, and Colorado and Washington fully legalized it for recreational use in 2012. And yet even as “ganjapreneurs” scramble to take economic advantage, thousands of people remain behind bars, or burdened by countless collateral punishments that prevent them from full and active membership in society.
In a March interview, Michelle Alexander, a law professor whose book, “The New Jim Crow,” articulated the drug war’s deeper costs to black men in particular, noted the cruel paradox at play in Colorado and Washington. She pointed to ’40 years of impoverished black kids getting prison time for selling weed, and their families and futures destroyed,’ and said, ‘Now, white men are planning to get rich doing precisely the same thing?'” (from Part 2: The Injustice of Marijuana Arrests)
Currently, there are efforts afoot in the Pennsylvania legislature to allow for the use of medicinal marijuana. On Monday, York County-based U.S. Representative Scott Perry announced a bill to legalize a cannabidiol oil that has shown success in reducing the number of seizures suffered by children with epilepsy.
What do you think? Is it time for the U.S. government to, as the NYT puts it, “repeal Prohibition again” and legalize marijuana? Are you in favor of outright legalization, or rather a decriminalization that would still maintain certain parameters and guidlines for sale and consumption?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments here or on our Facebook page.