There’s momentum in Connecticut to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Connecticut’s brand new governor, Ned Lamont, has made legalization a priority for his administration.
It’s far from a done deal though. The change requires legislative approval. And there are plenty of groups in Connecticut opposed to the idea, citing concerns about people driving under the influence, youth substance use and prolonged effects of marijuana use.
In December 2018, our neighbor to the north — Massachusetts — became the first state on the east coast to open up legal recreational pot shops. All the activity and debate around marijuana has opened up a new beat for local journalists: ‘Cannabis Journalism.’
Dan Adams is a reporter who covers cannabis for the Boston Globe. UConn Journalism major Adam Hushin talked with Adams about what skills he uses to cover this new beat, and what challenges a cannabis reporter may face. Adams was already reporting on regulated industries as part of his beat, so the journalistic opportunity recreational pot presented was great for him. Adams also narrowed down the broad field of cannabis journalism into much more specific beats a budding reporter can focus on.
Penelope Overton is a staff writer for the Portland Press Herald in Maine. She talked to UConn Journalism major Connor Donahue about covering two of the most interesting beats in Maine: the lobster business and the marijuana business.
The fascinating mix of a state powerhouse industry like the lobster market along with the newly-emerging marijuana industry provides thought-provoking comparisons and a perfect blend of old and new, Overton said. Overton joined the Portland Press Herald in 2016. She’s covered politics, government and the environment in Florida, Connecticut, Arizona and Washington, D.C.
The podcast also features an interview with Andrew Matranga, a journalism professor at University of Denver who is the originator of the first college course on cannabis journalism. Matranga explained what a college journalism class on the subject of marijuana entails. Matranga’s inspiration for his course came from vanguard cannabis reporting sources such as The Denver Post, as well as changing legislation around the country.
Lastly, we hear from Peter Apicella, a UConn graduate student who is involved in the first-ever course at UConn to study the science behind cannabis horticulture. The class got underway in Spring 2019. Apicella offered ideas on how students interested in careers around cannabis — including journalists — can stay on forefront of the industry.