We drew the ire of a handful of readers on Sunday when we inserted a new, bimonthly magazine in the newspaper called Southern Oregon Good Herb.
It’s a beautiful magazine, well-written, photographed and designed, on glossy paper. Why the vexation?
That “Good Herb” is marijuana.
These readers noted cannabis is still illegal on the federal level. They believe use leads to abuse of even more dangerous drugs, such as heroin. One said marijuana causes users to lose interest in interpersonal relationships, jobs and community, not to mention endangers people’s lives when they drive under the influence.
I don’t disagree. Any enjoyable, mind-altering substance — my favorite is wine — can lead to trouble when it’s overindulged or abused.
The decision to produce a cannabis-themed magazine was not made lightly, and it came after years of internal debate.
Recreational marijuana became legal in Oregon for those 21 and older in 2014, spawning a whole new industry of growers, producers, testers, packagers, sellers and a wide variety of cannabis products. Wouldn’t our readers want to know more about this new frontier? And wouldn’t those in the cannabis industry want to advertise as competition grows fierce?
We held off for several years, fearing we would offend some readers. But we’ve decided it’s time. The proliferation of stores, grows and new users means cannabis is now touching all of our lives — we see it, smell it from our neighbors, perhaps even try it ourselves to see what the fuss is all about now that we’re not breaking any laws (state laws, anyway).
In this issue of SO Good Herb, we give tips for backyard growers; caution those who want to try pot for the first time to take it slow — very slow; and introduce readers to cannabis stores and cannabis getaways, even a cannabis delivery service. We also talk to an addiction expert about how cannabidiol — the medicinal part of cannabis, not the part that makes you high — may provide enormous health benefits but needs to be more closely studied.
We believe helping readers understand more about this burgeoning industry, how it’s affecting their communities and how they can make responsible decisions if they choose to use fits in with our role as a news organization. We certainly don’t want to offend anyone, but cannabis isn’t going away. Let’s stay on top of this massive cultural shift.
Judging by the mostly positive responses we got from readers to SO Good Herb, it’s time.
Reach Editor Cathy Noah at 541-776-4464 or firstname.lastname@example.org.