I am a huge fan of The New York Times. After The New Yorker, it is my favorite periodical. Their pieces on Suboxone and Adderall last fall were well researched, and they recently nailed it when it comes to sleeping medications like Ambien. The Times has a great track record and probably the biggest influence of all the world’s newspapers. It is because of that track record and influence that I am so disappointed about their weeklong series on marijuana that kicked off last Sunday with a poorly thought out piece. I responded to it in a previous post.
The White House reacted with this statement, which sited several studies and argued four major points:
(1) marijuana use effects the developing brain
(2) substance use in school age children has a detrimental effect on their academic achievement
(3) marijuana is addictive
and (4) drugged driving is a threat to our roadways
All of those points are facts. On Thursday, the Times responded with this piece. They stated that they are not encouraging adults to smoke and that they agree that drugged driving should remain illegal. Ludicrously, they cited a study in marijuana medical magazine (yes, it’s a real thing) that put forth that marijuana is less addictive than caffeine. They concluded it with this statement:
We are simply asking the federal government to get out of the way so that states can decide what marijuana policies would work best for their own people.
It’s ironic that the Times has asked the Federal Government to get out of the way of states, because that is inconsistent with much of the other ideaologies that they espouse. When it comes to gun control, abortion rights, climate change, education and prison policy, the editors of the Times continually come out in favor of the Federal Government to correct the laws of states whose policies they disagree with.
Dr. Stuart Gitlow, the current president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), wrote this retort to The New York Times marijuana op-ed and later said in an interview that (I’m paraphrasing here), “I don’t think they talked to a medical doctor at all before they published this. I didn’t get wind of it until the morning it was published.”