Chat replay: covering pot when recreational use is legalized

As states move to lift local bans on marijuana use, reporters and editors are increasingly faced with the question of how to cover the drug as more than a crime story.

Communities where pot is legal are faced with a complex set of issues like preventing underage access to the drug, appropriately regulating the supply chain, determining where growers and distributors should be located, and enforcing bans that prevent citizens from taking marijuana out of state in cars and on airplanes.

Journalists from two states that have legalized recreational marijuana — Colorado and Washington — talked about their approaches to covering the regulation, business, consumption and consequences of legalized medical and recreational marijuana.

Ricardo Baca, editor of The Denver Post’s marijuana website and of its pot coverage, and Bob Young, who writes about marijuana for The Seattle Times, joined Poynter’s Kelly McBride to discuss the challenges they encounter following pot’s legalization. They also shared the lessons they have learned in reporting on marijuana topics from business licensing to recipes and suggest best practices to follow in writing about legalized pot.

Find the archive of all past chats at www.poynter.org/chats.

Related training: On the Beat: Covering Cops and Crime | On the Beat: Covering the Courts

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