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Al Olson Leaves NBC News for Marijuana News

The veteran reporter is leaving to head Marijuana.com as the site's managing editor and revealed his lifelong love for marijuana along the way.

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By Bryan Le

08/19/14

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Veteran journalist Al Olson is leaving his senior editor job at NBC News to head Marijuana.com, a news site dedicated to reporting on all things cannabis.

For Olson, marijuana and journalism are fatefully intertwined. “I’ve been a journalist for as long as I’ve been a marijuana advocate—my first byline was at the age of 14, the same age I smoked my first joint,” he said in a press statement.

Olson took the reins as Marijuana.com's managing editor on Monday and will be in charge of expanding the site's cannabis coverage, as well as building the site's team of reporters.

"For the last three and a half years I've taken this deep dive into this marijuana industry and movement and just what is happening to this country," Olson said. "I think this is a real interesting time for America."

He also admitted to being a recreational marijuana user for over 40 years, is a medical marijuana card holder in Washington state, and has seen how medical marijuana has helped many of his friends and family.

It should also come as no surprise that Olson holds gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson as one of his heroes, as well as Walter Kronkite. "Although these two journalists were on opposite ends of the news spectrum, both understood that the War on Drugs was a colossal failure. My goal is to make both of my heroes proud of the journalism we will produce at Marijuana.com.”

"We're going to shake things up a little bit, have some fun," Olson continued. "We're going to tell stories in a new and exciting way and not in the mainstream way. It kind of angered me, frankly, to see how mainstream media is covering this issue. There has been a real lack of understanding of what was happening here. I'm very excited to do this."

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