I, for one, welcome the Denver Post's announcement that it will have a new editor covering the marijuana beat full-time. The paper promises "a mix of news, entertainment and culture stories" which sounds like a healthy range of coverage for an intoxicant that is rapidly moving from the counterculture into the mainstream with Eric Holder-defying speed. Not long ago—and still in many places—marijuana was a matter for the police blotter. But can it be long before we see newspapers running reviews and holiday recommendations for the discriminating palate?
Denver Post News Director Kevin Dale writes:
We have written extensively about the research on marijuana, the regulation, the wrangling in the legislature, cooking with marijuana and growing it. The new year will bring all angles together in a way that is challenging and exciting for us. We plan to do what we do with any major story: throw our best muscle, creative minds and ingenuity at the project.
It's not surprising that the news we would be hiring an editor to oversee the project swirled around the journalism and marijuana community. …
We're going to have some fun – with a mix of news, entertainment and culture stories.
Having worked for a daily newspaper, I suspect that the Post will have little trouble finding in-house talent familar with the new beat. Lots of Americans have experience with marijuana (42.4 percent of us, as of 2008, says the World Health Organization)—positive or at least non-scary experience, that puts the lie to the decades-old fearmongering about the stuff eroding our inhibitions and destroying the fabric of American society.
Besides, a little inhibition-eroding ain't so bad.
Such experience has nudged Americans way ahead of institutions like government and old-line media, with full legalization now drawing 58 percent support, according to Gallup. The Department of Justice will need some time to catch up. The Denver Post seems to have arrived. At least, it will have arrived when the paper starts holding marijuana tastings and making suggestions about something special to bring to that…umm…holiday pot luck.