As another year of federal prohibition passes us by, while over one-third of states still restrict cannabis, it’s quite suspect that the most coverage the plant is getting right now is via the vape crisis, versus its rich history and vast potential.
Instead of covering the millions of lives changed by prohibition, mainstream websites cover white cannabis entrepreneurs and their products, or the occasional news item about health research.
The heavy heap of scaremongering is not lost on the actual community, who has either had to eke out media niche of their own or in my case suffer the repeated ‘killing’ of weed stories when you decide to have faith in the mainstream grindhouse.
A quick search of The Atlantic mentioned cannabis in nine stories in the past year, few about justice or culture, but a hefty one-third covered cannabis skepticism.
An initial search of The New York Times found that cannabis was covered 23 times in 2019 so far, with 25 stories about vaping alone since August. Many of the cannabis pieces explored the untested theories of critics, versus the glut of positive information from the research community.
It’s just gross at this point that instead of addressing a massive source of inequality—and a stunning keystone of America’s original racist sins—could be glossed over in favor of either fluff pieces or dark pleas to fear schizophrenia or to toss your vape.
Nobody who is truly invested in cannabis’ future can ignore its past, nor can we continue to pretend that a sudden bubble of respiratory illnesses—caused by prohibition outright—are more important than people of color who still sit in prison for cannabis charges.
“The paper of record” should have had a dedicated cannabis vertical ages ago, with over half of states having some cannabis access, it’s just negligent that they haven’t.
Coverage should not be only driven by product and controversy, but that’s more indicative of the entire media landscape vs. the browning pastures unwatered by the big name publications.