Friday, September 7, 2012
POLITICS + PERSONALITY: The President and The Pot: It’s a Hypocritical Smoke Screen
Fridays at Justin + 6 are Politics and Personality with Washington DC-based gay party guy, and creator and host of Swish Edition, R. Scott Wallis. Expect to be challenged. Expect to be offended. Opinions expressed here are Scott's and Scott's alone.
I think most of us will agree that the Democratic National Convention, for the most part, was a great success. Whether or not you agree with its platform and their new and old candidates, they pulled off an impressive show.
Perhaps President Clinton went on too long. Maybe it wasn’t the smartest idea to take up a position on which city should be the capital of Israel (and then change it) or take all references to God out of the platform (and then put them back in). It wasn’t the brightest idea on Speaker Pelosi’s part to get on CNN with a holier-than-thou attitude and to flat out lie about Medicare. Or to parade out the fired (by Bain) factory workers again. But otherwise, they had their shining moments and I enjoyed much of it.
But what wasn’t a smart move was for President Obama to agree to participate in a video with the actors Kal Penn (also a former White House staffer and host of the DNC’s online convention coverage) and John Cho as their movie characters Harold & Kumar.
You know them. They smoke a lot of pot, eat White Castle burgers and get the fictionalized, straight version of Neil Patrick Harris killed on screen.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not against pot. I actually think it should be legalized across the board. But the Obama administration doesn’t necessarily agree and for the President of the United States to appear in a video that makes fun of potheads, well, it’s just not cool.
The use of medical marijuana is legal in many states but the growing of, procession of and use of the substance is still a federal offense no matter where you are and it can mean serious time behind bars. It makes no sense to me, and many others, that the states don’t have the right to make their own laws, but as we know, federal trumps state every time.
And the Obama administration has been cracking down, even more so than the Bush administration before it. Obama had promised to deprioritize the federal prosecutions of medical marijuana, but he has done just the opposite. There have been over 150 raids on (supposedly state legal) growers or dispensaries since Obama was inaugurated.
In an interview with Yahoo News earlier this week, Penn said that the president, while not for legalization, has been allocating Department of Justice resources toward violent criminal activity instead of non-violent activities such as medical marijuana growth, sales and use.
While that might be true overall, why the 150 raids?
And last October, the administration warned Californian dispensaries that they had 45 days to close "…or face criminal charges and confiscation of their property even if they are operating legally under the state’s 15-year-old medical marijuana law."
Sure, it’s a complicated subject and another difficult chapter in the fight between states and federal law and how they contradict each other. And something should be done to rectify the situation so that all Americans know whether or not they risk having their front door rammed in by a team of federal agents because they are treating their glaucoma the best way they know how.
Perhaps it’s high time we take this to the Supreme Court.
But in the meantime, Mr. Obama should steer clear of making fun of dudes smoking pot.
Here's the video.