New York Times Editorial Writer Brent Staples Responds To White House Marijuana Opinion: I'm ‘Not Impressed'

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Brent Staples, the New York Times editorial writer who penned one of the opinion pieces in an interactive series calling for pot legalization, told HuffPost Live Tuesday that he was “not impressed” with the White House's response to the paper's much-discussed editorial titled "Repeal Prohibition, Again."

In a blog post response to the editorial Monday, The Office of National Drug Control Policy staff acknowledged the need for criminal justice reform, but remained committed to its official stance on marijuana, saying the drug presents a “cascade of public health problems.”

Staples repeatedly compared marijuana to alcohol to show inconsistencies in the federal stance towards the two.

“We will in very short order dispense with the federal grounds [for marijuana prohibition] on medical grounds…” he told host Josh Zepps. “The actual effects of moderate marijuana use -- or even extreme marijuana use I would say -- are less deleterious than those of alcohol.”

Staples drove home his point by suggesting that the statute prohibiting the drug itself is rooted in racism and “myth.”

“The initial federal law that regarded marijuana as a narcotic, which was first passed in 1937… was based on the prejudices of the people who were running federal drug policy at the time,” Staples said. “And it was based on an uncharitable view of Mexican-Americans and black Americans, with whom the drug was associated at the time. And that element of the statute has stood and stood and stood, despite no scientific evidence to support it…”

Watch the full HuffPost Live interview here.

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