The New York Times had its first-ever full-page marijuana-related ad run on the heels of its editorial board calling for the drug’s legalization. The ad, from a company called Leafly, ran on page 17 in the paper’s A section, and featured the tagline “Just Say Know.”
On its website, the company said: “We want to help New York patients learn about cannabis and make responsible and informed consumer choices about the product best suited for their medical conditions. Patients need a reliable, mainstream information portal about cannabis that is free of classic stoner stereotypes, and we truly believe that Leafly is the resource for them.”
Aaron Smith, with the Cannabis Policy Center, told CBS News correspondent Anna Werner it’s time for the federal government to change its policies too. “Right now, the immediate goal is to allow states to decide their own policies and move forward without interference from the federal government,” Smith said. Shops that sell marijuana in Colorado or Washington often have trouble getting federally-insured banks to take the proceeds of their business.
In April, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department will still enforce drug laws, but in a way that maximizes limited federal resources. “We will prevent marijuana from getting into the hands of minors. We will prevent violence in the trafficking, the sale of marijuana, prevent the cartels from profiting,” Holder said. But Holder has not removed marijuana from the list of drugs considered dangerous by the government — that, he said, will be up to Congress.
Earlier this year, New York became the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana under certain circumstances. Although marijuana remains illegal in New York, possession of small amounts has been reduced to a low-level violation subject to a fine. Just last month, the New York Times ran an editorial calling for the legalization of marijuana nationally, saying it is “long past time to repeal this version of Prohibition.” The move received both criticism and praise.
The editorial acknowledged legitimate concerns about the health affects of marijuana, but said the drug is “far less dangerous than alcohol.” “The social costs of the marijuana laws are vast,” the editorial stated. “There were 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, according to F.B.I. figures, compared with 256,000 for cocaine, heroin and their derivatives. Even worse, the result is racist, falling disproportionately on young black men, ruining their lives and creating new generations of career criminals.”
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