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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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(Ed Andrieski | The Associated Press) Jenny smokes a marijuana cigarette in January at a medical marijuana rally at Lincoln Park across from the Capitol in Denver, Colo.
Pundits high on marijuana, of one form or other ...

While we in Utah look to make limited, practical use of one non-intoxicating form of cannabis, our editorial brethren at The New York Times are going all in on federal legalization.

Utah should do more to make cannabis extract available — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

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" ... The Utah Legislature has already taken the first step. In their last session, lawmakers passed a bill known as Charlee’s Law, named for 6-year-old Charlee Nelson, who suffered from a crippling form of epilepsy and who died days after the law was passed. That law created a process where parents of children suffering from severe forms of epilepsy, ailments not eased by conventional medicine, could legally acquire a non-psychotropic marijuana derivative called cannabidiol.

"But even with the legal process in place, even with legal marijuana operations in nearby Colorado, even with federal officials looking the other way as Colorado tries out its new approach, actually getting hold of enough cannabidiol to meet the demand is proving difficult. Families are looking to form caravans — or even move to Colorado — to meet their children’s needs. ..."

Removing ‘stigma’ of medical marijuana — York (Penn.) Dispatch Editorial

" ... These doctors practice in the 20 states where compassionate lawmakers understood the difference between recreational use of pot and legitimate, medical use of cannabis.

"Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is not one of those states ..."

High Time: An Editorial Series on Marijuana Legalization — New York Times Editorials

"It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. 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 federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana. ..."

Timing the Call to Repeal Marijuana — David Firestone | The New York Times

" ... In the practice of editorial writing, timing matters a great deal. The series that The New York Times editorial board began on Sunday, calling for an end to the federal ban on marijuana, is receiving a great deal of attention not because it is a wildly radical move, far ahead of its time. It’s because it comes at a moment when the country is engaged on this topic, and is moving with surprising speed toward a different appraisal of marijuana than existed in the 1970s, when the current ban went into effect. ..."

Why the New York Times’ Editorial Series Calling for Marijuana Legalization Is Such a Big Deal — Tony Newman | Drug Policy Alliance | For The Huffington Post

The history of pro-marijuana editorials — Dylan Byres | Politico

"The New York Times’ marijuana legalization editorial may have been the most significant endorsement in the decades-long fight for legalization, but it was not the first. ..."

Of course, out here in the Wild West, at least one newspaper was waaaay ahead of the Gray Lady:

The Washington Legislature should legalize marijuana — Seattle Times Editorial, February 18, 2011

"Marijuana should be legalized, regulated and taxed. The push to repeal federal prohibition should come from the states, and it should begin with the state of Washington. ..."

The Washington Legislature didn’t. But the people of Washington, by referendum, did. Starting this year.


How Statesman readers feel about making recreational marijuana legal — Robert Ehlert | The Idaho Statesman

"First, lets’s get something straight: there is no pending vote — much less a fast-track movement in Idaho — to decriminalize marijuana or consider allowing either medicinal or recreational use, as has been the case in Colorado and Washington.

"That said, the stand taken this weekend by the New York Times and the liberalization of marijuana laws in two-thirds of the 50 states has put the issue squarely on national and Idaho radars. In November our neighbors in Oregon will vote on whether to allow recreational use of marijuana. The issue is coming to a border near you. ..."

In San Jose pot wars, sanity prevails — San Jose Mercury News Editorial

" ... Signatures for a referendum on the rules passed in June fell short, and activists have given up on a separate measure they hoped would hoodwink voters into substituting bogus regulations for the council’s plan. It’s taken years, but San Jose now has rules that will continue the availability of medical marijuana while protecting neighborhoods and the city’s potential to attract good jobs. ..."

I have mixed feelings about medical marijuana — Therresa Worthington | For The St. George Spectrum

"The medical marijuana debate is going full throttle in our little town and it seems to have split the community down the middle.

"But it hasn’t because there is a third group of people in the battle of confusion and strife and that is made up of those who are wishy washy about it — like me. ..."

Oregon has shot at becoming hemp seed leader — Kathy Ging | For The Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard

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