The New York Times made huge headlines over the weekend when its editorial board called for the “national legalization” of marijuana.
Pro-pot groups were crawling over each other so they could be among the first to offer the deepest, we-are-not-worthy bows to the newspaper of record in the United States. After all, who among them would disagree with the Times' assertion that ” … the federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.”
But one Southern California-based medical-weed information service said, Hold on just a second:
It turns out the paper, which said in its editorial that cannabis is “far less dangerous than alcohol,” still tests new employees for marijuana use.
Editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal told MSNBC this week, “Whether we're going to continue testing for marijuana or not, I don't know. If they ask me, I'll say stop.”
Irvine-based dispensary listing site WeedMaps is calling out the paper for its hypocrisy. The company started a Change.org petition urging The New York Times Co. and publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. to “stop drug testing employees for marijuana.”
The petition says that “off-duty marijuana use doesn't negatively impact a journalist's ability to do his or her job.” (Speak for yourself.)
It also says:
Traditional drug testing programs cannot determine whether someone is currently high; they merely test for metabolites that indicate whether someone used marijuana as far back as a month ago.
… What journalists and other employees do on their own time is their own business. The Times doesn’t concern itself with whether their writers have a drink after work. They should institute the same policy for marijuana.
Aaron Houston, a strategist for WeedMaps, noted in a statement that Americans “still face an array of other life-changing consequences for using marijuana that they wouldn’t face for using alcohol or prescription drugs.”
This sounds to us like the beginning of an anti-workplace-testing movement. Tom Angell, founder of the group Marijuana Majority, praised WeedMaps for its stance:
If the New York Times believes it is wrong to discriminate against people for using marijuana, then they should stop doing so. Full stop. Forward-thinking companies in the emerging legal marijuana industry, such as WeedMaps, are leading the way toward a post-prohibition approach to hiring and human resources by focusing on job performance and not on the content of their employees' urine. The Times Company and other businesses in traditional sectors would do well to follow suit.
For the record, L.A. Weekly doesn't drug test employees, new or old. Phew.