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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Editorial sampler: Legal pot ...

Among all the other stuff that happened Tuesday, voters in Colorado and Washington state voted to legalize marijuana. Not just for medical uses, but for "recreational use." Voters in Oregon turned down a similar initiative.

Newspapers react, so far, soberly,

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Marijuana legalization challenges state and federal leaders — Seattle Times Editorial

Washington and Colorado have become the first states in the union to vote to legalize marijuana. In 2010, voters in California said no; Tuesday, voters in Oregon also said no. But "no" shakes no foundations. "Yes" does.

And "yes" is the right answer. Prohibition has failed. Licensing the growers and retailers will take marijuana out of the hands of criminal gangs and bring it into the open, where it can be regulated and taxed. ...

State voters were generous – if there wasn’t a price — Tacoma News Tribune Editorial

Tuesday’s election returns suggest that Washington is becoming a libertarian paradise – a place where gays can marry, marijuana is legal and parents might even be given the choice of independent schools for their children.

But oh, by the way – not a penny more for public education or other state programs. ...

Colorado’s marijuana vote sends a message — Denver Post Editorial

Though we opposed Amendment 64, we see Tuesday’s vote as a signal to the feds to end the nation’s prohibition of marijuana.

Legal pot challenges feds — Colorado Springs Gazette Editorial

... Recreational marijuana use is a bad idea. So is federal violation of a federal Constitution that’s supposed to protect states and individuals from federal intrusion. Advocates of legalized marijuana can thank practical limitations of government, rather than law, if Amendment 64 frees them to buy and consume the drug.

Come on, Gov. Hickenlooper: Defend marijuana vote — Vincent Carroll | The Denver Post

Is it too much to ask top state officials to go to bat for voters who just passed an amendment that the federal government might not like? ...

Oregon lawmakers should take up marijuana legalization — The Oregonian Editorial

... Even as voters in Oregon were saying "no" to Measure 80, those in Washington were saying "yes" to I-502, which may soon make a dependable supply of legally obtainable pot available within a short drive of downtown Portland. We’re going to need a new bridge, pronto. ...

Utah’s marijuana crops — Deseret News Editorial

... There has been a general lessening in recent years of the penalties associated with the use of marijuana, and there are those who argue too many resources are deployed against the production and distribution of the drug. They are missing a larger point.

The growing fields are the enterprise of organized crime, and the cartel believed to be behind many of the operations in Utah is known to be among the most vicious and violent contributors to the spread of lawlessness throughout large portions of Mexico. Whatever efforts are necessary to stop that plague from gaining a foothold in Utah are clearly justified. ...

Time to talk pot — Daily Iowan (University of Iowa) Editorial

.. The societal problems born of the nation’s strict marijuana laws dramatically overshadow the potential consequences of legalizing a drug that is, by any reasonable measure, no more harmful than tobacco or alcohol. The current laws make too many people criminals, greatly exacerbate the massive racial disparity in the American prison system, and simply cost too much to enforce. ...

Canada’s being left behind in pot reform — The Province, Vancouver, British Columbia

Election shows times a-changin’ — Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal Editorial

... [Bob] Dylan’s best advice, along with a warning, may have been to Washington politicians who face an electorate sick of partisan gridlock.

"Senators, congressmen, please heed the call, don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall," he wrote. "For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled."

So watch out, because "the times they are a-changin.’"

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