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

Opinion: Why isn't Rastafari a respected religion? Pot prejudice
A Rastafarian priest leads a chant during a celebration of reggae music icon Bob Marley in the yard of Marley’s former home in Kingston, Jamaica in 2013. (David McFadden, Associated Press file)

11. Why isn’t Rastafari a respected religion? Because of pot prejudice: At a time when western society is becoming increasingly sensitive to appropriation of American Indian cultures in sports (Washington Redskins) and pop music (Flaming Lips), and eagerly cries foul at any white person costumed as a foreign minority, we are still living in a minstrel-show culture when it comes to the “No problem, mon” depiction of Rastafarians. Ironically, this gap in the PC protocol is an extension of the most successful tool white colonists have used to subjugate black people in both the U.S. and Jamaica’s post-slavery societies: Anti-marijuana propaganda. Read the full opinion piece.

12. Colorado road fatalities don’t match stoned driving panic: It makes sense that loosening restrictions on pot would result in a higher percentage of drivers involved in fatal traffic accidents having smoked the drug at some point over the past few days or weeks. You’d also expect to find that a higher percentage of churchgoers, good Samaritans and soup kitchen volunteers would have pot in their system. You’d expect a similar result among any large sampling of people. This doesn’t necessarily mean that marijuana caused or was even a contributing factor to accidents, traffic violations or fatalities. Read the full opinion piece.

Best of 2014:
Special report from The Cannabist

Portable vaporizers: The 12 vape pens that caught our attention

Cannabis in the kitchen: Our most popular infused recipes, from pot brownies to mac and cheese (plus our cannabutter how-to)

13. Federal obstruction of marijuana research must be stopped: The paucity of research — good, scientifically valid research — is a problem that will only get worse unless the federal government eases regulations constricting research, much the same way it loosened restrictions on the banking industry and how it handled money generated from marijuana businesses. Read the full opinion piece.

14. Colorado scapegoat for other states’ black-market drug issues: It’s hard to believe the Supreme Court would want to act as the enforcer of federal supremacy on marijuana law when the executive branch itself has shown so little interest in asserting its authority. Nebraska and Oklahoma are straining to find arguments against a law that they don’t like in a neighboring state. Sorry, but it’s none of their business. Read the full opinion piece.

Editorial from Emerald Triangle: Get ready for legal weed, or economy fails
Marijuana grown for medical purposes is shown inside a greenhouse at a farm in Potter Valley, Calif., in Mendocino County, which is part of the Emerald Triangle that also includes Humboldt and Trinity counties. (Eric Risberg, Associated Press file)

15. From the Emerald Triangle: Plan for California 2016 legalization, or fail: Illegal marijuana accounts for a quarter of Humboldt County’s economy — at least. Legal pot is coming to California whether we agree with it or not. Plan now or fail. Read the full opinion piece.

The New Cannabis Lexicon: Are you passing the dab rig or bogarting a joint? Here’s a compendium of modern marijuana terms — and classics too — from A-Z