Friday, October 8, 2010

Dude, Where's my Column? Or, Should the Journalist Sample the Chronic?

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER METRO columnist Annette John-Hall, who will visit J1111 on Tuesday, wrote an article today about the legalization of marijuana.

While visiting her native California recently, she witnessed the debate about proposition 19 (the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010) which is on the ballot for November. It would essentially regulate the use of recreational marijuana.

John-Hall attended the International Cannabis and Hemp Expo in San Francisco and she visited the a vendor who offered marijuana samples. Here is some of her story:

"More than a few vendors offered some of their choice herbs for me to try. I just said no. After all, I was working.

But then I happened upon the Edibles section, a tantalizing array of brownies, cookies, parfaits, and caramels. I'm a sucker for sweets. What the heck. I popped a piece of a brownie, as tiny as a gum drop, into my mouth.

I was suckered all right. It didn't take long before I realized that, wow, this isn't your mama's pot. It's much more potent."


Was it wrong for her to sample the goods? Or, is it fine to experiment with illegal substances in the name of journalism?

(the photo comes from John-Hall's facebook page).

12 comments:

Kerri Lyn Rehfuss said...

Honestly, she wasn't sitting there getting high off her ass just for the sake of it. Sometimes it's more believable to hear an argument if it comes from a writer with first hand experience. That being said, does this count as accepting gifts? Haha.

Ruth K. said...

As a journalist, I wouldn't have sampled the goods, though I understand the temptation.

I think that we should take into account that these were samples that seem to have been made available to everyone, not just journalists - so these samples were probably not being offered to journalists to bribe them.

Camille Mola said...

I think that John-Hall was just trying to do her job to the fullest extent. She really became involved in her story. Her doing illegal drugs may not be the best for her image, but she has to be given credit for really becoming involved in her story.

Lauren Bateman said...

The purpose of John-Hall's article was to discuss the legalization of recreational marijuana. In my opinion, I find some journalists on this issue to be hypocritical. In her trying the brownie, she was able to gain a new perspective for her piece. She wasn't taking advantage of the situation, she was just testing the waters. However, I can also see how her actions might be looked down upon. If you were to substitute this illegal action for something more controversial, like the experimentation with a more dangerous drug or say an act of violence for example, the excuse of "in the name of journalism" would seem insignificant.

Matthew Albasi said...

It's absolutely fine. It was part of the story. I got pissed when travel writers were writing their stories from the comforts of home, so why should I expect someone writing about weed to have never tried it. And, hell, it worked well enough for good ol' Hunter S.

Cassandra D'Amelio said...

Anette John-Hall was not trying to get stoned on the job. She claims to have tried a very small piece of a brownie filled with marijuana, which gave her some of the effects of THC. I just glanced at the post on top of this one and Matthew said exactly what I was going to say... She wasn't in Las Vegas locked in a room taking every drug under the sun like Hunter S. Thompson (not ethical, but it surprisingly had a quite positive effect on his career and notorioty). If a professional is writing about something (in this case weed)I feel it is important for them to be knowledgable on their subject. In the case of marijuana, study after study has proved that it is not deadly nor does it have any serious health implications. If she is supporting the legalization of the plant (not drug) then she was only experimenting in the name of journalism to discover the truth and reveal it to the public, who may believe everything they hear in the propoganda against the plant. Her investigation, if the truth was established, may even sway some voters into choosing one over the other.

Love Hewitt said...

I think it is 100% okay to experiemnt with the illegal substances in the name of journalism. How can she write about mairjuana if she isn't even knowledgabe of the effects it has on her? If she did complete this story without any experimentation of the drug then I would of called her unknowledgabe of the subject that she is feeding to the media, and to me that it is a bigger crime then tasting a marijuana brownie.

After tasting the brownie John-Hall has a different viewpoint and can write her article much more informed then she was prior to her experience.

Monica Miller said...

Why not? I see nothing wrong with testing it out in order to get a full understanding for journalistic purposes. How can someone right about something they know nothing about? It wouldn't be fair to the reader.

Lauren Hertzler said...

I do not think it was wrong for John-Hall to sample the piece of brownie in the name of journalism, although unfortunately, I do think it could have a negative effect on her overall image to some readers. Personally, I believe it made this column story more exciting and fun to read. Also, she wouldn't have gone through the learning experience as to how "potent" it really is, unless she sampled it. Overall, I think trying a piece of the brownie probably made it easier for her to exemplify her position on the particular subject because she was actually affected by it.

Anonymous said...

I am in support of legalizing marijuana myself, and feel that John-Hall sampling 1/16 of a brownie was not a big deal at all. I feel that if she wrote her piece after her brownie experience in practically any newspaper in California,no one would think she did anything out of the ordinary, let alone think that she hurt her "image" or reputation in any way. This previous thought is simply derived from the fact the marijuana in California is accepted, unlike it is legally here, and having family in California I know that most Californias are totally desensitized to the presence of the substance in mainstream society.

Anonymous said...

^^^Lauren Haber said...should be before that last comment. sorry about that!

Shannon Taylor said...

I agree with the majority of the responses above. I think it's great that she admitted that she tried the brownie and did feel the effect of it. I think it is righteous and she is kind of sticking it to the man. The only unhealthy thing about smoking weed is the smoke. It's an all natural herb. It's way better for you than cigarettes and cigars . This law should extend to PA.