Entertainer Whoopi Goldberg, who uses marijuana to relieve her glaucoma symptoms, and drug-addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky have polarizing views on pot. (Photo illustration, The Cannabist; photo credits (L-R), Getty Images, Denver Post file, Getty Images)

Best of 2014: Whoopi, Dr. Drew and 13 other pot op-eds that defined the year

The year of marijuana — is that how we’ll look back at 2014?

Some will always link 2014 to the eponymous weed, and they will be right in doing so. It was, after all, the year we saw legal, regulated sales begin in multiple U.S. states as attitudes began to shift the world over.

The conversations on cannabis and marijuana legalization that we had in 2014 helped shift our future relationship with the plant. We talked about pot’s medical efficacy, its latent dangers, its impact on communities, its place in our homes. We discussed its interactions with our spirituality and what happens when a legal purchase made in one state crosses over into an illegal possession in a neighboring state.

And all of these conversations were fascinating — with all of the sides, pro and con, being heard on a platform they’d never yet reached.

There were plenty of compelling marijuana editorials in 2014, furthering the conversation from an educated but biased perspective and making us think. Here are 15 of those editorials that were among our favorites — and they’re all sure to keep the conversation going.

Year in review:
Special report from The Cannabist

Coming Sunday: Pick up a Denver Post on Dec. 28 for our 24-page special report A Year Of Legal Pot, dissecting Colorado’s first year of legal recreational marijuana sales.

Pot journalism: A year in the life of the world’s first marijuana editor — The Denver Post’s Ricardo Baca, who oversees The Cannabist, talks about our changed perspective in Colorado

A new quest: U.S. patent protection for cannabis seeds

1. Whoopi Goldberg: My vape pen and I, a love story: My vape pen and I maintain a mostly private relationship. Sure, I’ll sometimes show my pen to a friend or share her with a close confidant. But mostly it’s just she and I working through my pain. And her ability to help me live comfortably with glaucoma makes her one of the more important figures in my day to day. When I show her to a friend, the reaction 99 percent of the time is: “Holy shit, where did you get this and how can I get me one?” They’re seriously that blown away by my vape pen. And they should be. She’s that amazing. Read the full opinion piece.

2. Wake up, Congress. Approve D.C.’s vote. Take pot off Schedule I: Banking restrictions should be lifted to allow businesses to operate and the feds should remove marijuana as a Schedule I drug, which preposterously classifies it among the most dangerous drugs. Read the full opinion piece.

Opinion: A personal story of pot addiction from a legalization advocate
(Lluis Gene, AFP/Getty Images file)

3. A personal story of pot addiction from a legalization advocate: I tried to ignore the warning signs, among them the negative impact smoking marijuana was having on my teaching and writing. At 38, there was no avoiding the fact that I was addicted. I needed to quit. Read the full opinion piece.

Map: State-by-state marijuana laws across the U.S.

4. Denver crime has dropped, so why the panic? After three months with legal marijuana, Denver has not turned into an urban wasteland. In fact, as Vox reported this week, Denver crime in the first two months of 2014 is down across the board from the first two months of 2013. Yes, it’s still early. But the numbers so far don’t suggest that Denver is about to succumb to a crime wave fueled by pot-addicted hooligans (as some law enforcement officials warned). Read the full opinion piece.

5. This PTA mom says let’s be realistic about marijuana — legalize it: I’m a mom of three, a PTA president, and I’m in favor of cannabis legalization. Read the full opinion piece.

More provocative op-eds from 2014