A Pot Editor Elicits Quips

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  A Pot Editor Elicits Quips

Posted by CN Staff on December 09, 2013 at 05:27:21 PT
By Christine Haughney 
Source: New York Times 

Denver -- Newspaper editors typically operate behind the scenes, overseeing reporters inside the newsroom and outside the spotlight. But since Ricardo Baca was named the marijuana editor of The Denver Post last month, he has been celebrated across the globe. He has appeared on CNN and “The Colbert Report.” Long-lost high school acquaintances have surfaced, with one inviting him to his friend’s basement for a smoke. Emails have flooded in from freelancers and readers, offering up their expertise on the subject matter.
“We’re taking an extremely credible, professional approach to this,” Mr. Baca said. “I was surprised that it was such an immediate punch line.” Mr. Baca’s newly created post became rich fodder for comedy writers and the media. On “Saturday Night Live,” an anchor on “Weekend Update” noted, “The Denver Post this week announced that they’re looking for a marijuana editor for their website. They have one. They’re just looking for him.” Stephen Colbert on his show asked Mr. Baca, “Are you a cop?” The website Mediabistro posted the job opening and encouraged applicants to “Roll up those résumés.” The British media gushed over the news, with The Independent calling the gig “arguably the best job in journalism” and a commenter on The Guardian exclaiming “Brilliant Denver!” and “liberal Yanks showing us Euros a thing or two.” But The Denver Post is taking its marijuana coverage seriously. On Jan. 1, Colorado will become one of two states to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana. And other states and countries are watching closely. Gregory L. Moore, The Post’s editor, says that has meant the newsroom has been tasked with “an-all-hands-on-deck assignment” to cover the history of marijuana regulation, the reaction of federal agents to the new law and a look at the science behind the drug. “It’s going to affect politics, culture, crime, food,” Mr. Moore said. “The world is going to be watching us and we really want to do a great job on this story.” A recent article in the paper covered a debate inside Denver’s City Council over whether residents can smoke in their yards. Another looked at the drug as a cooking ingredient, and included a recipe for marijuana-infused zucchini bread. “It smells like cannabis in Julie Dooley’s northeast Denver commercial kitchen,” the article opened. “It’s not the pungent Cheech and Chong odor though. It’s slightly aromatic and not at all unpleasant.” Mr. Baca, 36, a former music and entertainment editor, grew up in the Denver area and has worked at The Post for 12 years. His new job, he said, will go far beyond chronicling Colorado’s stoner culture. He has already been in contact with journalists abroad, exploring how the state’s new laws compare with those in other countries, like the Netherlands, where recreational drug use is illegal yet tolerated. He has also been in contact with reporters in Washington, the other state that has legalized marijuana use, to potentially work with. “Everybody here knew we needed to amp up our coverage,” Mr. Baca said. “But nobody knew how this was going to happen.” As soon as he was named to the post, he acknowledged using marijuana. “If I weren’t completely honest from the get-go, we lose credibility,” said Mr. Baca, who recently became engaged to his girlfriend while vacationing in Bali. Mr. Baca is in the process of hiring a staff and has reviewed about 70 résumés for the position of pot critic. He has also discussed with his colleagues whether the title on his business card should read Cannabis Editor or Marijuana Editor. (In some circles, the word marijuana is considered pejorative and carries racial connotations.) The Denver Post’s ambitious push into marijuana coverage comes as the paper has had some success amid dismal times for the newspaper industry. While many dailies are bleeding readers, The Post’s Sunday circulation grew to 615,315 by March 31, compared with 491,400 in March 2010, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. Roughly one-quarter of its readership subscribes digitally, while most newspapers count digital readers as 19 percent of their readers. It is in the process of introducing a subscription model. And it has also had success on the journalism side, winning a Pulitzer Prize each of the last four years. Management at The Post selected Mr. Baca to oversee coverage partly because of his success attracting a younger audience, a demographic that appeals to advertisers. In 2001, Mr. Baca helped start a festival for the paper called the Underground Music Showcase that he modeled after South by Southwest. In 2007, he started a music site called Reverb, which now has a full-time editor and deploys some four dozen freelancers. Mac Tully, The Post’s chief executive, noted that the recent expansion of its marijuana coverage should also help bring in younger audiences. “While I do believe pot is an issue that will reach across generations, it’s probably going to have a younger readership,” Mr. Tully said. As for Mr. Baca’s future marijuana use, he said he would follow The Post’s policies. The paper is adding the drug to a list of substances that its employees are barred from using on the job. “I will never come to work stoned,” he said. “I will never try and write anything under the influence.” A version of this article appears in print on December 9, 2013, on page B3 of the New York edition with the headline: A Pot Editor Elicits Quips, but Paper’s Intent Is Serious.Source: New York Times (NY)Author: Christine HaughneyPublished: December 9, 2013Copyright: 2013 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite:  -- Cannabis Archives 

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Comment #11 posted by John Tyler on December 10, 2013 at 19:16:32 PT
Santana video
Everybody in those performances from Woodstock on YouTube were so young, and pretty, and skinny. They were doing something really special. They were making memories and making history. They were us. Give yourselves a pat on the back.
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Comment #10 posted by The GCW on December 10, 2013 at 11:21:58 PT
Are We ready? We've been ready!
Denver pot committee considers whether the city is ready for Jan. 1"Are we ready?" Brown asked.The city says it expects fewer than 12 stores to open in Denver on Jan. 1, when marijuana legally can be sold to adults in Colorado. More than 110 stores have applied, but they are still going through the licensing process."We could have thousands of people lined up. They will camp out. They will have cash in their pockets,"-0-After 8 decades?
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on December 10, 2013 at 10:41:53 PT
I expect it to go smoothly, The GCW.
No violent home invasions by government. No murders. No pet killings. No rip offs. I expect it to be smoother than smooth. 
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Comment #8 posted by The GCW on December 09, 2013 at 23:17:27 PT
FoM and John Tyler,
I think it will be smooooth. Cannabis has been legal now over a year. It's been retailed in medical dispensaries for about a decade or more and that's been smooooth.When I looked at the poll, however, it was leaning toward no. I can not remember the last time I saw a poll regarding cannabis that was unfavorable but it was. And that one doesn't matter.Smooth or not, it's happening.
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Comment #7 posted by John Tyler on December 09, 2013 at 20:53:17 PT
YES. It will be wonderful.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on December 09, 2013 at 17:42:03 PT
I think it will.
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on December 09, 2013 at 17:30:21 PT
POLL:Do you think the Jan. 1 rollout of Colorado's retail marijuana industry will go smoothly?Yes?No?
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on December 09, 2013 at 13:43:12 PT

Yes He Was and What a Performance!
Santana - Soul Sacrifice 1969 "Woodstock" Live Video HQ
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on December 09, 2013 at 13:37:25 PT

Love This! Just Saw Obama Honor Santana
President Obama Quote: “Before Carlos Santana took the stage at Woodstock few people outside his hometown of San Francisco knew who he was, and the feeling was mutual: Carlos was in such a, shall we say, ‘altered state of mind,’ that he remembers almost nothing about the performance,” he joked.****President Obama Hosts Kennedy Center Honorees, Quips on Santana’s ‘Altered State of Mind’
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Comment #2 posted by HempWorld on December 09, 2013 at 12:45:09 PT

OT I got word that Uruguay is voting tomorrow/
Tuesday, on legalization!
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on December 09, 2013 at 06:08:57 PT

Are We making progress yet?
It's a new dawn, It's a new day, It's a new life, For me 
"And I'm feeling good" -0-“It’s going to affect politics, culture, crime, food,” Mr. Moore said. (And that's not all.)
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