5 Ways to Accurately Cover Marijuana Policy Issues in the Media

Huffington Post 19 May 2014
The world of marijuana is changing. And that means the world of marijuana-related news stories is also changing. With two states having legalized the drug, there is certainly a lot to write and talk about. At least two deaths have already been attributed to legal marijuana cookies in Colorado, and poison control centers continue to report increasing calls related to the drug. Publications sympathetic to legalization (like the HuffPost and Rolling Stone) continue to publish articles that obscure the science behind marijuana use and the increasing concern of public health officials over the experience of legalization in places like Colorado. These articles make grand, often unfounded assumptions about marijuana and marijuana legalization. It is not just the pro-marijuana media outlets that sometimes misrepresent what is happening with pot. Here are some considerations any fair-minded writer should take into account when writing about the complicated world of weed:
1. Do not simply assume marijuana legalization is inevitable.
2. Big Marijuana — like Big Tobacco before it — is a growing industry that deserves much deeper scrutiny.
3. Stop comparing marijuana legalization to same-sex marriage.
4. Stop saying “marijuana doesn’t kill anyone” or that it is “non-addictive.”
5. Physicians’ and scientists’ groups overwhelmingly oppose legalization, as do cops.

Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D.
Co-founder, Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) and Asst. Professor, University of Florida
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kevin-a-sabet-phd/5-ways-to-accurately-cove_b_5332739.html