Is It Practical to Legalize Marijuana in America?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The highly-rated strain of medical marijuana 'Blue Dream' is displayed among others in glass jars at Los Angeles' first-ever cannabis farmer's market at the West Coast Collective. July 04, 2014 (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty)

This week, The Takeaway's partner The New York Times launched "High Time: An Editorial Series on Marijuana Legalization."

The special op-ed feature includes articles by members of the Editorial Board that examine the issue of marijuana legalization as a question of state's rights and criminal justice.

Though it's a measured, in-depth take, it's causing almost as much of a stir as columnist Maureen Dowd's account of trying a pot candy bar in Denver, which ran in the paper back in June.

Once the marijuana reached her blood stream, Dowd felt "a scary shudder" course through her body that left her "panting and paranoid."

"I became convinced that I had died and no one was telling me," she wrote. The experience led her to conclude that in the hands of a novice like herself, marijuana can have frightening effects.

The opinion page's recent take is less testimonial-driven, if equally impassioned. Upcoming installments will examine regulation issues, and more.

While The New York Times is advocating for legalization, many questions remain. Could there be unforeseen consequences to legalization? And how complicated would the process be? Andrew Rosenthal, the editorial page editor for The New York Times, explains the ins and outs of these issues, and why the paper is taking a stand.

What do you think? Vote in our poll below.



Andrew Rosenthal

Hosted by:

Todd Zwillich

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja and Mythili Rao


T.J. Raphael

Comments [8]


First, that cop was an idiot. He is arresting those prone to crime and seeing misapplication of their resources. Spending their money on marijuana is preferable to alcohol. There are doctors, lawyers, and CEOs that smoked pot since they were teens.

Second, even veteran pot smokers will eat too much pot on their first times. When eaten, it’s cleared by the body more rapidly than it enters the blood stream requiring one to eat a substantial amount. Different factors will affect the results.

Third, they tried to kill monkeys being giving them THC and they failed. Zero mortality. If I remember correctly, they gave 9g/kg THC to the monkey. That would amount to 12.6 kg of weed for a 70 kg person. So, the effects may be unfamiliar with you but it would be impossible to even ingest the highest dose they gave to monkeys. It’s safe and it shouldn’t be a game of how much you can do. The medically efficacious dose barely registers as a high and is very short lived but the beneficial effects can last up to four days.

Jul. 31 2014 03:57 PM
Justin from Salt Lake City

The Chief of Police is NOT being intellectually honest.His facts are cherry picked to support his belief, rather than his belief being informed by the obvious facts.

If he is really so concerned about the wellbeing of families, and society how about considering on the family front - the pure hell and diversion of family resources that getting stuck in the Justice System for something as benign as marijuana causes families. As for society, does he really think that maxed out courts, jails, etc. are good for the community? What about his officers wasting time on nonviolent, offenders? Finally, his equivocation of all problems drug related i.e. heroin use etc as having anything to do with marijuana is no more true than blaming heroin use on alcohol, tobacco, or any other LEGAL substance. There is a correlation, but as we know correlation is NOT causation.

Jul. 31 2014 03:10 PM
Marlo from Jones County, Ga

I've been using marijuana for over 40 years, and it has not caused any health effects whatsoever. Not even lung problems. I have a physical every year and my doctor says I'm in perfect health, even weight and blood pressure are good. How can I participate in a health study concerning long term use of pot?

Jul. 31 2014 03:00 PM
Toby from Atlanta area

Cannabis is too useful to be illegal. It's a non-toxic herb useful for replacing hard drugs, like alcohol, to name but one... & it's good as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, sleep aid, mood aid like as a depression or anxiety drug, & it has potential in treating ADHD & PTSD. The prohibition causes *far* more harm than good; the prohibition of cannabis, locking people up & ruining their lives over this herb is nothing short of tyranny.

Jul. 31 2014 01:31 PM
Colyn from Portland, OR

I absolutely agree with Rosenthal. To keep marijuana illegal nationally is misguided and destructive, not only to policy and economy but to research and to real people's lives. If we can regulate cigarettes and alcohol -- both equally pleasurable and dangerous and a worry to parents everywhere -- why not marijuana? We can do this.

Jul. 31 2014 12:50 PM
Ines Moorhouse

Stop to think about the inhalation of marijuana smoke by children and its ingestion from touching upholstery and crawling on floors. Kids develop chronic respiratory and ear infections when they inhale smoke regularly. An infection that would normally be treatable becomes recurring with regular exposure to smoke of any kind. Kids need fresh air to breathe. Adults need to stop choosing selfish recreation over child healthcare.

As a social worker I noticed that most adults, especially the younger ones (20-somethings) spent money freely on cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, car accessories and other non-health or food spending more than on their children's food and healthcare. Young parents actually tend to believe that society should support their children so that their income is devoted to their own hedo istic pleasure and vanity. By the way, I am not religious at all. I just value life...period.

Jul. 31 2014 10:01 AM
ben pogue from Florida, Lake Worth

I'm 53 and have smoked marijuana all my adult life. In that time i have managed NOT to be on the DOLE, to send ALL my children to college and into adulthood, volunteered in my community, and have payed ALL the taxes the government says i owe, in other words, i am a responsible citizen of the United States and do not fall into the stereotype those who appose enjoy believe in. If the Powers That Be think they will ever have any influence over my behavior they are sadly mistaken. he argument has been stated a thousand times in the last few decades and it always ends up on the pro-legalization side, about time those who apposed give in and stay out of my business. Until we as a nation face the truth, 11% of the population will continue thumbing our noses at the LAW and will have no respect for those who make them or the political Reps who fail to represent us, our needs, desires....

Jul. 31 2014 09:51 AM
Michelangelo from Miami FL

After marijuana is legalized should I narc on the driver in front of me who is leaving a trail of ganga smoke whilst driving? Or is that just square mentality on my part? You know, snitches get stitches and all that.

Jul. 31 2014 09:49 AM

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