DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: A few decades ago, marijuana was a topic that relatively few people, mostly counterculture musicians and comedians, spoke about in public. The comedy team of Cheech and Chong made films such as “Up in Smoke” that extolled the pleasures of smoking pot at a time the subject was still taboo.
“When trouble times begin to bother me,” they sang, “I take a toke and all my cares go up in smoke.” On the fringes of American society, it was usually possible to find activists who wanted to legalize it, as the reggae artist Peter Tosh famously sang. Efforts to legalize the substance in the mid-1970s failed.
Now marijuana has gone mainstream. Twenty three states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. Colorado and Washington have legalized pot for recreational use. The media has featured lively debate over the issue.
Joining other media outlets that have run articles supporting this cause, The New York Times editorial page published a number of high-profile pieces that call for making pot legal at the national level and outline specific steps that should be taken to ensure that the industry evolves in a safe manner.