Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Back in the drug law reform groove

I'm still somewhat disappointed that the Register chose not to take an official position on Prop. 19 this time around, and I'm not the only one, but I think I understand Terry Horne's reluctance. This was something of a first for him, being asked to have the newspaper of which he is publisher take a position he knew would be controversial on a hot-button issue. But he has done so much for the register from a business perspective -- diagnosing the problems the Internet would create for newspapers way ahead of most people in the business and devising strategies to keep us profitable (one of the few major newspapers to be so, though at a radically reduced level) -- that I'm quite ready to understand him. It also helps that I like him personally; when I came in to pick up a computer and prepare to return to work he made a point of coming in to say "welcome back." Not every publisher we've had during my tenure would have done that.

I am sorry, however, that the Register didn't run the back-and-forth memos and drafts around prop. 19 the Sunday before the election, as we considered doing. I think people would have been fascinated.

Anyway, I did get the opportunity to blog fairly extensively on various aspects of Prop. 19 and to write some editorials that came right up to the edge of endorsement, so the Register is not entirely out of the business of urging drug-law reform. I also did this piece on the prospects for marijuana legalization in the next few years and 391 people shared it with their Facebook page and friends. I don't know if that's a record, but it's more than most of our Opinion pieces get. Of course the fact that Tony Newman of the Drug Policy Alliance distributed it to the DPA e-mail list probably didn't hurt. At any rate I'm back at the old stand reporting on drug policy reform efforts and making a few of them myself and the Register does nothing but encourage me.

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