The Washington Post supported marijuana prohibition for decades. Like most of the main stream media, the Washington Post perpetuated false marijuana stereotypes, helped spread the ‘marijuana is a gateway drug’ theory, and blamed marijuana for everything that was bad about society. Allen St. Pierre, the Executive Director of NORML, wrote an excellent piece when the Washington Post was recently sold titled ‘Will Washington Post Sale Help End Prohibition?’. In the article he highlights some of the anti-marijuana moves the Washington Post has made in the past:
Activism (one time the Washington Post compared 10,000 cannabis activists gathered in DC to protest prohibition laws to UFO enthusiasts…instead of listening to concerned citizens about a failed government policy like cannabis prohibition, the ‘activists’ The Post has largely focused on are faux activists that work for government agencies or their chosen grant recipients; CADCA, CASA, PDFA, PRIDE (which is now NFIA) and DARE*)
Science (The Post has almost exclusively relied upon federal anti-drug agencies like NIDA, SAMHSA and IOM for its cannabis-related information, who’re as bias against cannabis as NORML is for the herb)
Culture (movies, TV shows, songs, books, magazines, musical and comedic acts who dabbled in cannabis-related theming were generally panned and mocked as being culturally irrelevant)
Politics (pre-Marcus Brauchli, The Post’s editor from 2008-2012, the paper’s coverage of local, state, federal and international was decidedly statist and prohibitionist)
Economics (despite near ubiquity of opinion within economic circles that cannabis prohibition is an economic failure, The Post historically cast economists who identify such obvious failings as ‘libertarian’, as if this were a pejorative)
Race (skewed through the prism of upper-middle class African American editors and columnists from early 1980s until more recent years with their retirements, many of whom reached national prominence [Carl Rowan, Bill Raspberry and Colby King immediately come to mind], The Post cast cannabis as the precursor to most all things bad in the DC black community from heroin use in the 1970s, to cocaine in the 80s, to crack in the early 90s, to ecstasy in the late 90s….to gun violence, gang banging, teen pregnancy, underperforming schools, rap music, high rates of arrest and incarceration and broken families. So wanton to cast this narrative, The Post first won and then had to give back a Pulitzer prize for a writer making up a drug-addicted young boy in a totally fabricated narrative).
Considering all of that propaganda spreading, it’s a pleasant surprise to see that the Washington Post recently published an article in which they call for marijuana decriminalization in Washington D.C.. It’s not the first time we have seen a previously anti-marijuana media outlet come to the right side of history. For instance the largest media outlet in my home state of Oregon, the Oregonian, has been posting articles urging the state legislature to refer a marijuana legalization bill to voters. Similar things are happening all over the country. Below are excerpts from the Washington Post article:
Enforcing criminal penalties against those who aren’t involved in trafficking or selling the drug would be too harsh and a waste of government resources.
Of all the official reactions to changing mores on marijuana, decriminalization is the best.
It would have been nice to see the Washington Post come out in full support of ending marijuana prohibition, but this is certainly better than the stance they have had for so many decades.