John Barrette

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July 30, 2014
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Scene In Passing: New York Times stirs pot with conversational gambit

Stodgy despite a left-leaning heritage, the New York Times is behind the curve again. Perhaps, however, it will make a difference this time. The Times itself made recent news by urging Congress to remove marijuana from Schedule 1 drug status, which would end the national ban that multiple states already ignore right and left. The call was repeated as news by other news outlets in part because the newspaper has national reach and long-term influence from a footprint in a world media capital.

Under the headline “Repeal Prohibition, Again,” the paper of record put a 10 paragraph editorial on the front of its Sunday Review section. On the actual editorial page it had two longer editorial pieces headed: “Let States Decide on Marijuana” and “The Public Lightens Up About Weed.” Considerable evidence was cited, but opponents can marshal evidence to support their views as well.

The best case isn’t based on evidence; it’s based on the federal system in which the states are partners with the Feds. In a self-governing society, people decide and the government serves. This marijuana movement isn’t just states’ rights, it’s a peaceful states’ revolution from the ground up.

Whether the national newspaper’s stand will prove a game changer is anyone’s guess, though it likely will fuel the ongoing conversation. But Congress, which can’t agree on how to tie a shoelace, is unlikely to respond with rationality, States, meanwhile, continue forging into the future to find, by fits and starts, ways to deal with reality.

Kudos, by the way, to Kathy Bartosz of Partnership Carson City. Concerned about a possible wild west pot commercialism, she told me during a recent local pot debate on medicinal marijuana that Congress should remove pot from Schedule 1 status so it can be researched scientifically. Worried about impact on youth from liberalized pot prospects, she wants us to get into the weeds about weed. She’s right. It’s high time (pun intended).

It’s good to see the NYT newspaper caught up with Bartosz and others who see federal intransigence over pot as counterproductive.

Moving from Reefer Madness to the Mad Hatter, don’t forget that Jazz & Beyond begins Friday.

Reefer Madness is a vintage film screed about the evils of weed; the Mad Hatter is an iconic cultural figure, with my favorite version the Hatta in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland;” the Mad Hatter reference here is to an opening Jazz & Beyond garden party at 5 p.m. Friday at the Governor’s Mansion. Most musical events over the 17 days are free; the Mad Hatter party is $35 in advance and $40 at the door. It’s part of a busy time in Carson City.

The five-day Nevada 150 Fair starts today at Fuji Park, and there’s a 5 p.m. Battle of the Bands. A Thursday grand opening ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. features a ribbon, scissors and the usual suspects called dignitaries.

John Barrette covers Carson City government and business. He can be reached at

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jul 30, 2014 09:23AM Published Jul 30, 2014 09:25AM Copyright 2014 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.