New York Times gets the truth out about pot
In an "I can't believe where I'm reading this" piece, former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson writes a credible piece about the risks of marijuana use and how the activist community promoting it is denying those facts on the ground.
Berenson points out five problematic areas where the activist "narrative" doesn't pan out:
- That the drug is a "medicine" rather than an intoxicant.
- That pot legalization can slow the opioid epidemic.
- That pot is healthy and natural, with no link to schizophrenia.
- That people are being wholesale jailed for marijuana use alone.
- That legalization will end the black market and put-drug dealers out of business.
Plus two points worth noting:
- That it's five times stronger than it was in the 1970s, the age of pot use by many Americans who now support legalization, and while use has gone up, frequency of use by users has really gone up.
- That hospitals are treating three times the number of people for marijuana-induced psychosis and marijuana-use disorder as they were a dozen years ago.
None of the above five narratives is true – in fact, Berenson shows that in all cases, the opposite is true. And while he supports decriminalization of pot use, he also advocates strongly for people getting the facts before ingesting a substance that can have life-altering effects, writing:
Marijuana's risks are different from opioids', but they are no less real. Let's remember that hard truth as we listen to promises that allowing the use of this drug will do no harm.
It's a brilliant antidote to all the activist blather and false narratives about pot out there. You want to know why places that legalize pot always go back to prohibition – from Alaska (the first time) to Zurich? Well, this explains it.
This raises questions about why the Times did this. Pot legalization has always been seen as a lefty cause, and the Times loves to support all lefty causes. Maybe Berenson had been a favorite son of the paper, and they allowed him to have is say for that alone, liking him better than his research. Or better still, maybe there are more Jill Abramsons at that paper than many realize – Abramson is no conservative, but she recently pointed out that the Times has slanted its reporting noticeably left, compromising its reputation. I've known conservatives who've worked at the New York Times, and they aren't just showpiece conservatives put out there to fill the columns. Former Timesman Andrew Malcolm might have even better perspective on this possibility, since he likely still knows people there.
Maybe the Times senses a shift in the wind now that pot legalization has become established conventional wisdom.
Maybe, and this is what I think is most likely, the fact that pot legalization is bipartisan, with large numbers of Republicans supporting it alongside the Sorosites and hippie Democrats, makes it safe to go back into the truth waters, since pot legalization is no longer a particularly lefty narrative anymore.
Why do I ask this? Because I'd love to see the Times tell the truth on other issues it consistently slants the news on, news that is completely activist-driven, such as global warming, illegal immigration, and voter fraud and fair elections. Maybe the key to getting the facts out is a larger bipartisan basis of advocates to make the water safe for the facts. That way, the Times won't be stepping on just lefty toes.
Is that what it takes to get the Times to tell the truth about things? I wonder. But kudos to the Times for running this Berenson piece.