(NYT) What would happen in the many communities now allowing medical marijuana had been a subject of much hand-wringing. But few predicted this: that it would be a boon for local newspapers looking for ways to cope with the effects of the recession and the flight of advertising -- especially classified listings -- to Web sites like CraigslistMarijuana will become legal. Once people start making money in a conventional manner - and advertising is as conventional as it gets - others will want in on the profits.
But in states like Colorado, California and Montana where use of the drug for health purposes is legal, newspapers -- particularly alternative weeklies -- have rushed to woo marijuana providers. Many of these enterprises are flush with cash and eager to get the word out about their fledgling businesses.
"Medical marijuana has been a revenue blessing over and above what we anticipated," said John Weiss, the founder and publisher of The Independent, a free weekly. "This wasn't in our marketing plan a year ago, and now it is about 10 percent of our paper's revenue."
I have surprised a few people over the years with the statement that marijuana should be legal. They are shocked to hear a substance abuse counselor make that claim. But we spend way too much money fighting a losing battle, just like we did when prohibition was in place.
Nor will legalizing marijuana increase my business. I do not believe the rates of marijuana addiction will go up. One, I do not recall any increase in the rates of alcoholism after prohibition was repealed, so I suspect the same of marijuana. Second; marijuana is pretty well established as a cultural norm - along the lines of under age drinking - in this country.
In any case, and on a personal note, illegal or legal, I will not be using marijuana. I had my fun with it years ago, and paid a hefty price. I have no desire to repeat that process.
Hat Tip: Anne Laurie at Balloon Juice