The New York Times Wants To Legalize Weed

The Times editorial board is calling on the federal government to "repeal prohibition, again."

Jason Redmond / Reuters

The New York Times has called on the U.S. to do away with its "prohibition" of marijuana in a new editorial.

The editorial acknowledges that there are "legitimate concerns" about marijuana use, but that ultimately the negative effects of anti-weed laws outweigh the benefits.

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 editorial goes on to mention the "rapidly growing movement among states" that have embraced changes to marijuana laws, as well as the hundreds of thousands of arrests that result from marijuana possession. It also argues fears about weed are overblown:

Moderate use of marijuana does not appear to pose a risk for otherwise healthy adults. Claims that marijuana is a gateway to more dangerous drugs are as fanciful as the "Reefer Madness" images of murder, rape and suicide.

The editorial is a bit surprising given The New York Times' recent high-profile pot coverage.

Most famously, Maureen Dowd wrote a widely-circulated story about her experience trying pot in Colorado earlier this year. Dowd ended up paranoid and ill, and she supplemented the piece with tales of pot driving people to murder and suicide, among other things. (Dowd followed up with a less alarmist piece entitled "Pot Rules.")

David Brooks also condemned marijuana earlier this year, writing that embracing pot nurtures "a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be."

Evidently, a new wind is blowing.