New York Times discovers dabbing, cowers in fear. It’s becoming all too common: East Coast media outlet discovers a new “super potent” drug called shatter, investigates by quoting a police official and DEA agent, then publishes some shocking exposé. We reported on the phenomenon back in January, when a flurry of alarming reports hit TV stations in New Jersey. Sadly, it continues. Today’s New York Times contains an atrocious bit of Reefer Madness that hits all the classic drug war tropes. When reporter Sarah Maslin Nir “discovers” high school students vaping some wax on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, she investigates and finds that the substance they’re inhaling is “a potent and little-studied drug made from distilled marijuana,” one that has caused medical experts to “raise alarms,” because it “could pose unknown health risks.” The NYPD reports that they have no records of their officers encountering the drug, but federal officials are on the case! “We monitor any type of new twist on drug use in order to warn the public of its danger,” says the local DEA special agent.
This isn’t just bad reporting. It’s offensive and embarrassing. Cannabis extracts have been widely known, and legally sold elsewhere for years. Why not quote an expert from one of New York State’s legal MMJ dispensaries? Or anybody at all who knows the first thing about extracts? The kicker was Nir’s use of students from an elite private boarding school, which plays into one of the worst media stereotypes — the idea that some new moral panic is newsworthy only when it affects the privileged children of the wealthy. Underage use of cannabis in any form is not OK, cool, or legal. But Nir’s use of those kids to stir up old fears about demon drugs manages to be at once naïve and cynical. If this sort of junk journalism dealt with politics or business, it wouldn’t be allowed in the NYT. The same standards should apply for cannabis, Editor Dean Baquet.
Cannabis industry leaders lobby Congress. Reps. Earl Blumenauer, Ed Perlmutter, and Denny Heck joined the National Cannabis Industry Association for a press conference yesterday kicking off the NCIA’s annual two-day lobbying effort. Let’s get after that 280E problem, folks!
Baltimore Ravens player donates $80,000 for cannabis research. Eugene Monroe, left tackle for the Ravens, made the donation to researchers at Johns Hopkins and the University of Pennsylvania to study the impact of cannabinoid therapies on current and retired NFL players.
New Jersey still arresting a lot of people for cannabis. Like, a lot of people — 24,689 in 2014, according to the latest statistics. “Of all the crimes listed in the State Police’s Uniform Crime Report, none resulted in more arrests than marijuana possession in 2014,” reports New Jersey 101.5.
Colorado cops cracking down on Craigslist sales. Hey, Colorado, you’ve got the world’s greatest legal cannabis system, with hundreds of beautiful stores. So why are you selling and buying on Craigslist? Colorado police are wondering, too — and they’re starting to arrest people for it. So cut it out.
Coconuts: How not to smuggle 1,423 pounds of cannabis. Earlier this year we brought you news of the misguided attempt to smuggle cannabis across the Mexican border inside a truckload of broccoli. Having failed with the green super-vegetable, smugglers have moved on to other food products. Like coconuts. Hollowed and stuffed. Those didn’t work either.
Image credit: Sara Dilley