They didn’t just throw this out there in passing; they’ve made it a mission. They ran a prominent, forceful editorial, and they’re following it up with a whole series. The New York Times has decided to make marijuana legalization a priority and give it everything they’ve got.
I don’t think most politicians oppose legalization because they’re concerned about the dangers of marijuana. I think most politicians oppose legalization because they think supporting it will be a bad career move: opponents will portray them as focusing on frivolous issues while the country has larger priorities, and older, more conservative voters will believe them. “Our economy is in a shambles, our national security is threatened, and my opponent thinks we should all go smoke doobies.”
The New York Times has more mainstream respect than probably any other national news source, and they’re putting their full weight behind this. And they’re making it clear that this is about larger issues like crime and racism, not about the right to get high. People who aren’t about to read a NORML pamphlet read and respect the New York Times.
This is huge.