New York Times Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal on Sunday defended the paper's call for ending the federal prohibition on marijuana, saying the ban's cost to the country is "absolutely unacceptable."
“We’re not urging people to smoke pot anymore than we are for them to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes," he said during an interview on ABC's "This Week." "It’s just that making it illegal was creating a social cost for the country that was absolutely unacceptable.”
On Saturday, the Times's editorial board endorsed the end of the federal ban on marijuana and announced an interactive six-part series to discuss the issue. In the editorial, the board called for federal restrictions on those under 21 but for states to determine their own policies for those 21 and older.
On Sunday, Rosenthal said the U.S. has been trending in this direction for some time.
“The country has been moving in this direction," he said. "Public opinion is clearly there. We’ve been watching the states experiment, and more and more states now — it’s about 37 — allow marijuana, either for medical or now for recreational use, and they’re doing it in defiance of federal law.”