The New York Times Editorial Board made an historic announcement this week by calling for the end of the federal prohibition of marijuana.
The editorial received a great deal of deserved attention because it was from the biggest mainstream media entity to take on and fully embrace the idea on a national level.
While the New York Times does not command the respect and media market share that they used to, the Grey Lady is no slouch and it’s still one of the largest and most influential media organizations in the country.
Even though the New York Times did not mention Colorado by name in its initial editorial, the state of Colorado, and how we have dealt with marijuana, deserves a great deal of credit for making this stance not only possible but also so popular.
Colorado citizens know first hand that legalizing marijuana, whether for medical or recreational use, is not as simple or profitable as promised. But we also know that it is not the unmitigated disaster that many skeptics predicted.
Colorado’s experimentation with pot has proved that the issue is simply normal, not perfect, not a disaster, and frankly much like the regulation of any new product or service.
As a society, we are still trying to figure out how to regulate the Internet, so it’s not like regulation always comes easy.
It is this normalcy that allows organizations like the New York Times Editorial Board to openly endorse that the federal government should lift the prohibition of marijuana and allow states to regulate it as they do other substances like alcohol and tobacco.
The state of Washington gets lumped in with Colorado when getting credit for breaching the frontier of legalizing recreational pot. But the fact of the matter is that even though Washington voters may have voted at the same time that Colorado voters did, it was our elected officials who accepted the challenge of dealing with the reality first and the risk of failure in the bright spotlight of international attention.
Things have been far from perfect and there is certainly more work to do, but can we say that regulating hydraulic fracturing or other industries have been a cakewalk?
Colorado helped prove to the world the madness of reefer madness. Other states are gingerly following suit by legalizing medical marijuana use, but it’s logical that the next state to join the Mile Really High Club will be coming soon.
The New York Times Editorial Board can enjoy the spotlight this week, but sooner than later, it should give credit where it is due. Just as we did when it came to women’s suffrage, Colorado voters have shown the rest of the country the way to the future and proved that it’s not nearly as scary as advertised.
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About The Blogger
– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here usually every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti is also the host and producer of the Emmy award winning Colorado Inside Out on Colorado Public Television.