I believe The New York Times hits the nail on the head by why they believe marijuana prohibition should be ended. Other than saying that “marijuana is clearly less dangerous than alcohol”. I don’t believe that has been proven yet, but we do know the side-effects and risks are similar. Which tells me that you either prohibit both of them, or legalize both of them. But you don’t prohibit one of them because they have a strong lobbying force advocating against marijuana prohibition. Which are the alcohol, tobacco, junk food makers and Prison Industrial Complex who would all lose a hell of a lot of money to marijuana legalization.
The arguments against marijuana legalization are tired and old. Because they could be used against either alcohol or tobacco. Especially alcohol when you say things like. “Marijuana can be addictive, or leads to harder drugs, over-consumption is dangerous, it can lead to other crimes and car accidents”. You replace marijuana with alcohol and you are talking about the same side-effects. So I’m not buying that and besides it is not the job of government to protect people from themselves. But to regulate how we interact with each other. Meaning protecting innocent people from predators and punishing those who hurt innocent people.
The Times gets the federalist argument correct on this and speaking as a Liberal Federalist myself (and yes there is such a thing) that instead legalizing at the national level and attempting to prohibit states and localities from keeping marijuana prohibition in place that instead you let the states and localities make these decisions for themselves. And let them figure it out for themselves which is exactly what is happening with gambling and same-sex-marriage and I believe at least at same point with prostitution as well.
The New York Times is a progressive paper with a few right-wing writers like David Brooks and Ross Douhat. Which means they could’ve taken the personal freedom or social liberal approach by saying “that marijuana is personal or freedom of choice issue”. Or they could’ve taken the progressive paternalistic nanny statist approach which is what alcohol prohibition and the War on Drugs is based on. But they got it right this time and I expect people in power on sides of the political spectrum will take them seriously.