The New York Daily News, commonly condensed in the Big Apple as the Daily News, was founded in 1919 and was the first daily publication in the U.S. to be printed in tabloid format.
Now, after a century of eye-grabbing headlines and imagery, the iconic publication is stepping out on a limb to endorse the legalization of cannabis in the City That Never Sleeps with a massive font reading WEED THE PEOPLE across the potleaf-laden cover.
Far from a liberal rag, the Daily News has been described by the NY Post as “flexibly centrist", and the paper endorsed Dubya in 2004, Obama in 2008, Romney in 2012, and Clinton in 2016. So for the editorial board to take such a definitive stance on such a social issue like marijuana is remarkable.
Their analysis in the accompanying article is indeed very pro-cannabis, but they still try to walk some phantom line of morality, condemning “vaping and toking” and encouraging the continued criminal prosecution of such evils as smoking weed outdoors.
Some of the wording in the editorial article can be confusing, even after re-reading, as the authors do some verbal gymnastics in an attempt to get on the right side of history without sounding like they are deep rooted cannabis advocates.
They rightfully bring up the racial disparity that New York witnesses in its cannabis-related arrests, citing a stat that while Blacks and Latinos make up around 51% of NYC’s total population, over 86% of cannabis arrestees are Black or Latino even though cannabis use in the two groups virtually matches use by Whites.
Cops in the 5 Boroughs arrest somewhere around 17,000 residents each year for weed, and though that seems high, AND IS TOO HIGH, that number was nearly double just five years ago. A rise in criminal summonses and the cease and desist of the controversial "stop and frisk" policy have helped to curb those disturbing numbers.
New York state has a halfass medical marijuana program in place but if you are smoking flowers or buds, you are breaking the law. Instead, NY MMJ users must get their relief by liquid or oil for oral consumption via tincture, sublingually (using a dropper to place a few drops under the tongue), or from liquid or oil for use in vaporizers and vape pens. You can also utilize capsules for oral administration.
So while it does leave a lot to be desired, the fact that the law exists is a tacit admission by the New York Department of Health that cannabis does have medicinal value.
One other area where the Daily News should check their language is when comparing cannabis to cigarettes and/or alcohol.
This lame comparison happens far too often, so let’s set the record straight.
Neither cigarettes or booze grows naturally out of the ground, ready to be consumed. There are chemicals and processes involved in each that kick them out of the all-natural category right off the bat.
Cannabis will not give you cancer. In some cases, it will help to cure your cancer. The same definitely cannot be said about cigarettes.
Booze is not much better. You can legally walk into a PHARMACY in many American towns and purchase gallons of whisky, walk right out to your car parked in the lot and quite literally drink yourself to death in an hour or less. Or just slowly strangle your liver over the course of decades.
I think you’d need to smoke something like 1,500 pounds of weed in 15 minutes or less to maybe die. That’s why nobody has in the 5000+ year relationship between man and marijuana.
So we commend the Daily News for taking this stand.
Could it be stronger? For sure. But we’ll take all the good press we can get.