Letter From the Editor 

"The Denver Post this week announced that they're looking for a marijuana editor for their website. They have one. They're just looking for him."

That was Saturday Night Live's take on the news last week that The Denver Post had hired a marijuana editor. The announcement made the newspaper an instant target for comedic one-liners, but this is no Cheech & Chong movie. This is a serious move being made by one of the country's premier papers. The Post has won a Pulitzer Prize in each of the past four years.

The reason for the hire is that on January 1, 2014, Colorado will become one of two states to legalize recreational marijuana use. The repercussions will be enormous. These are uncharted legal waters for a U.S. state. The New York Times quoted Post editor Gregory L. Moore: "It's going to affect politics, culture, crime, food. ... The world is going to be watching us and we really want to do a great job on this story."

Moore is right. The world, or at least other states, will definitely be watching. Legislators around the country will be monitoring the problems that may arise — as they did with casino gaming — and analyzing legal pot's potential economic impact on cash-strapped state budgets.

Legal marijuana, like gay marriage — and legal gaming before that — is a societal sea change that is coming, probably sooner than we imagine. The first step — legalizing medical marijuana — has already happened in 20 states and in the District of Columbia. And to say the definition of "medical" has been stretched in those states is to put it mildly. Pot dispensaries are as ubiquitous as Walgreens in urban areas where medical pot is legal. "Prescriptions" are available for almost any ailment you can come up with. Feeling a little stressed? Go get yourself a jar of Sweet Vanilla Kush.

Legal medical pot is taxed and is creating significant revenue streams — and jobs. Newspapers are making big bucks on page after page of ads for dispensaries. And pot is everywhere. When I was last in San Francisco, I saw people medicating themselves while walking around Fisherman's Wharf, much like tourists wandering Beale Street suck down Big-Ass Beers.

Think it won't happen around here? Wrong. Two separate medical marijuana initiative campaigns are now under way in Arkansas, aimed at the November 2014 ballot. In 2012, a similar campaign was barely defeated, with 48.5 percent of the voters favoring legal medical pot. The Natural State, indeed.

Here's hoping the good ol' boys in Nashville are taking notice. If Arkansas legalizes medical pot, you can bet a Tennessee ballot initiative won't be long in coming. In which case, the Flyer may also be in the market for a marijuana editor, dude.

Bruce VanWyngarden
brucev@memphisflyer.com

Comments (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • I’m Not Sexist, But ...

      There was a huge sea-change in attitudes this week. Thousands of people made the decision to switch from not being racists to not being sexists. As in, "I'm not a sexist, but I can't stand Hillary Clinton." This is good news for President Obama, as the thousands of not racists who hated him have found a new target ...

    • NRA Foreplay in Tennessee

      The NRA convention is coming to Nashville this weekend, so the Tennessee Legislature is trying to pass as many gun-friendly laws as possible before their overlords get here. That's not hyperbole. Some members have actually said in public that this is a concern. The NRA must be appeased, and quickly, lest Wayne "Wackjob" LaPierre call them out from the podium as sissies ...
    • Back to Bettyville

      I just finished a book called Bettyville. It's by George Hodgman, who grew up in Paris, Missouri, near my hometown, then went to the University of Missouri school of journalism in the 1970s. After graduation, he went off to New York City and became an editor at various magazines ...

Blogs

News Blog

Memphis Police Arrest 22 Gang Members in Drug Sting

Music Blog

Local Beer Brewed for Lucero Family Picnic

Intermission Impossible

Nina Raine's “Tribes” Maps the Boundary Between Listening and Hearing

Style Sessions

Everbloom Designs - Flower Crown DIY

Politics Beat Blog

Finally! City Candidates Can Get their Petitions

Intermission Impossible

Dido, Dirty Madrigals, Christopher Marlowe, and Sweet Baroque Music

Beyond the Arc

Grizzlies 95, Pacers 83: Clarity and Home Court.

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Bruce VanWyngarden

  • I’m Not Sexist, But ...

    There was a huge sea-change in attitudes this week. Thousands of people made the decision to switch from not being racists to not being sexists. As in, "I'm not a sexist, but I can't stand Hillary Clinton." This is good news for President Obama, as the thousands of not racists who hated him have found a new target ...

    • Apr 16, 2015
  • NRA Foreplay in Tennessee

    The NRA convention is coming to Nashville this weekend, so the Tennessee Legislature is trying to pass as many gun-friendly laws as possible before their overlords get here. That's not hyperbole. Some members have actually said in public that this is a concern. The NRA must be appeased, and quickly, lest Wayne "Wackjob" LaPierre call them out from the podium as sissies ...
    • Apr 9, 2015
  • More »
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2015

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation