Welcome to 2018, when distinguished political reporters are jumping ship to report on pot. Run by longtime political reporter Peter Marcus, just-launched website TheNewsStation.com is striving to be the intersection between pot and politics while also shedding light on daily developments in the cannabis industry as a whole.
"We’re not trying to compete or necessarily be breaking news with this site, but usually when you see stories on cannabis, it’s [aggregated] — but we also want to be highlighting the significance and meaning of that news," says Marcus, a former political reporter for ColoradoPolitics.com and the Durango Herald who joined the site as editor before its launch. "We’re not trying to speak for the cannabis industry; we’re trying to give our unique perspective on it."
The site is funded by Terrapin Care Station, a Boulder-born dispensary chain with locations in Aurora, Boulder and Denver, and is intended to offer pot-centric news with a subjective twist. For example, a recent article on Republican Senator Cory Gardner presents him as a "cannabis champion" and lists several instances of Gardner's work on legal cannabis, states' rights and tax reform as proof. The site also delves into United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions's decision to revoke the Cole Memorandum and nine years' worth of federal protective guidelines for state-compliant cannabis businesses and users.
"There’s been a trillion stories on Sessions and the memo, but what impact did it have? As it turns out, it was of very little impact," adds Marcus, who also serves as communications director for Terrapin. "I wanted to highlight the timing of his memo, because it’s important to understand the full impact of what’s going on."
There are four main sections on the website: "Opioid Crisis," "Industry," "Politics" and "Fake News," with the goal of covering a wide array of industry happenings that range from social pot consumption licenses in Denver to recent attempts by conservative groups to undermine commercial cannabis. For a veteran journalist like Marcus, the new venture has allowed him to keep his foot in writing while fully delving into an issue that he regards as "very important."
"Six months in, I don’t regret the decision," he says. "There are aspects [of journalism] I certainly miss, I've got to tell you, but I’m loving wearing a new hat. I love working on the inside on what I consider a very important issue."
The NewsStation.com officially launched this week, and Marcus says he's received positive early feedback. "I was a little nervous to release it; it’s a big industry, and you don’t want to step on toes. he explains. "But I think the response I’ve gotten is a big thank you."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.