UK & World News
New York Times Backs Legalisation Of Cannabis
The New York Times' editorial board has urged the federal government to end "prohibition" of marijuana, making it the most authoritative US newspaper to back legalisation of the drug.
It said the marijuana ban was "inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.
"The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana."
America's newspaper of record said its editorial board members had arrived at that conclusion after "a great deal of discussion", amid a movement across individual states to review cannabis laws.
The article, under the headline Repeal Prohibition, said that claims marijuana is a gateway drug to more dangerous substances are "fanciful".
The newspaper cited the social costs of enforcing cannabis laws, noting that arrests for possession of the drug fall disproportionately on young black men.
The board said the overall health impact of marijuana was less harmful than alcohol and tobacco.
However, it conceded there were legitimate concerns about the effects of cannabis on the adolescent brain.
The newspaper said it would therefore advocate legalising the drug for sale only to people aged 21 and over.
Recreational sale and consumption of marijuana is currently legal in two US states - Colorado and Washington.
Alaska and Oregon will decide whether to follow suit this year.
Cannabis laws have also been liberalised in more than 30 others states, plus the District of Columbia.