Following the New York Times Editorial Board decision calling for the repeal of the prohibition of pot, we wanted to know the possibility of it really happening. So we reached out to network TV’s only Chief Cannabis Correspondent, Fusion’s Ryan Nerz. He says, it’s high time:
TVNewser: How big of a deal is it that the Times editorial board came to this decision?
Nerz: Pretty damn big. The country’s most authoritative newspaper is saying that the United States federal government should repeal its 40-year-long ban on marijuana. And yet, you could make the case that they are actually late to the party. For me, the real tidal shift happened last year, when a Gallup poll said that a majority of Americans favored legalization for the first time. But this is still pretty huge.
TVNewser: The Times says marijuana should be legal only for people 21 and over because of “legitimate concerns about marijuana on the development of adolescent brains.” Do you agree with this or should the legal age be younger, say 18?
Nerz: I agree wholeheartedly with this age limit. The human brain doesn’t stop developing until at least the mid-20s, and there are credible studies that correlate marijuana use during the years of brain development to a 6-8 point drop in IQ.
TVNewser: The editorial board says the criminalization of marijuana is racist, “falling disproportionately on young black men, ruining their lives and creating new generations of career criminals.” Is this what your reporting has found?
Nerz: The wording of their statement seems a little melodramatic, but the underpinnings are spot on. My reporting shows that the people making the big bucks off weed are disproportionately white, and yet the people getting busted are disproportionately black and Latino.
TVNewser: Do you expect the editorial boards of other media organizations to follow suit?