le sigh

Pot Fanatics Ruin Obama’s Attempt to Talk About Serious Things Again

after this let's get some taco bell frito burritos!!

In another failed attempt to have a Serious Discussion about things that allegedly matter to the American people, like the invisibility of jobs, the mirage-like appearance of money and the light-as-air noggins of the land’s lawmakers, the White House held a contest to see which American person-submitted questions President Obama should answer in a YouTube Q&A happening Monday afternoon, another installment of a thing they call “Your Interview With the President.” AS USUAL, the people took a vote and said DRUGS! Basically everything was about drugs. The things that weren’t about drugs had to be flagged for removal due to inappropriateness. Americant!

Some of the people have fair points, e.g. are marijuana users violent or otherwise dangerous, compared to alcohol users? How many people does marijuana kill, vs. alcohol? (Hint: not a lot. For one thing, according to this piece of research from the CDC, “other drugs” (not alcohol) are responsible for about 18 percent of car accident fatalities, but this includes all drugs, and “often” those drugs have been consumed with alcohol.)

The winning question on this topic was actually submitted by a former LAPD deputy chief of police, who now represents a group called LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) (prohibition???) Says Stephen Downing:

From my decades of law enforcement experience, I’ve come to see our country’s drug policies as a failure and a complete waste of criminal justice resources.

HE SHOULD KNOW! And if we’re talking about how to align Obama’s dreamy State of the Union proposal/ideas that cost a Kardashian wedding ten thousand times over with the brain-dead fiscal conservatism of the idiots who are somehow still here, stealing Americans’ nonexistent money and using it to verbally disembowel each other, Mr. LAPD has a clue.

The Gallup poll that Downing mentioned, from October of 2011, does indeed show “record high” support of marijuana legalization. Interestingly, Americans 65 and older are still the ones most opposed to marijuana legalization. BUT…THE ’60s!!!! DON’T THEY REMEMBER? What happened? Why won’t you talk about it?

Pleasantly, the same percentage of moderates, independents and Democrats polled favored Legalizing It (57 percent, versus 35 percent of Republicans).

So even though someone from LEAP “won” a question with the President last year, and the President answered it, presumably nothing has been done to placate the potheads in the past 365 days. In fact, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, Obama now has the “worst” record on marijuana laws of the past eight presidents!

He clearly doesn’t care! This was the face that Obama made when one of his handlers pitched him the evident softball question on marijuana during last year’s YouTube thingy:

i love my job!!!!!!!!

So in other words, ASK AWAY, ECCENTRIC CITIZENS! Anything to make our very real problems seem more FUN than the other guys (“guys” — not to be confused with “one of the guys”). [LEAP]

About the author

Liz is a writer. She has written for this site, evidently, and also The Awl, The San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, The Economist and others. She is the author of a short story collection, Cover Story.

View all articles by Liz Colville
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97 comments

  1. mavenmaven

    This seemed like a good article, but I can't, um, remember what the beginning was about. Where are the Doritos?

    1. mormos

      it is said that hollywood is just high school with money. it is also said that politics is just hollywood for ugly people. take from that what you will

  2. MissTaken

    But if marijuana was legal than my uncle and cousins would have to get jobs to make a living. Trust me, you do not want those assholes in the workforce.

  3. SorosBot

    These are the same potheads that are so obsessed with legalization that they support Ron Paul because of his stand on drugs despite his insane economic ideas and contempt for the freedom of women, gay people and racial minorities. Hey, I support legalization too but there are other, more important issues out there.

    1. edgydrifter

      Yes, wouldn't it be positively weird if a mainstream and reasonable candidate espoused a mainstream and reasonable position on this issue? Ron Paul and his Amero-filled zeppelin would lose 98% of their relevancy and support virtually overnight.

      1. chicken_thief

        Though it hardly fits the definition of "reasonable" but I think even "mainstream" candidates like Newt supported medicinal pot as far back as the '80's. Maybe the moon base is going to be a hemp farm?!

    2. Tundra Grifter

      SB:

      Actually, I believe legalization is one of the most important issues we need to deal with. Mexico is narco-disaster – and those poor folks don't stand a chance as long as the drug lords can make fortunes pushing the stuff.

      We can't afford to loose so many good people to bad drugs. We need them out of prisons – and we simply can't pay to continue to warehouse them.

      The War on Drugs is over. Drugs won.

      1. DerrickWildcat

        When I was a little kid, whenever I saw candy, I started going straight for it. My Mom would grab me and say, "Don't you put that in your mouth! There could be drugs in it! You don't know what kind of sickos left that there!" She even said this if the candy was in a bowl at a bank or department store.

        1. Loaded_Pants

          Did she also insist you take your Halloween candy to a local hospital to scan for razor blades. (Seriously, my hometown hospital still does that stupid shit every year based on nothing but an old urban legend.)

  4. Oblios_Cap

    The War on Drugs? Isn't that where the US sends troops to Columbia to protect the Calderon Family's drug shipments at the expense of the other rival families? On the taxpayers' dimes?

    Keep those FARCing hands off my drugs!

  5. paris biltong

    They ask him questions about drugs just because it's what they think Blacks like to talk about. Nobody would ask Romney, Gingrich or Santorum about drugs. (Ron Paul is another matter, because he's a doctor).

      1. GOPCrusher

        With that rictus grin permanently glued to her face, you know Callista is probably a big fan of the Vicodin with a vodka chaser.

  6. yyyaz

    Legalization would reduce suffering for the terminally ill, take untold billions out of the hands of homicidal criminal cartels, provide a steady tax-revenue stream so that maybe we could have nice things like infrastructure, alternative energy, healthcare … You're right. It's far too logical for serious debate.

    1. HateMachine

      I'm all for legalization, but the idea that pot would be a steady tax revenue steam doesn't follow, logically. The reason pot is so lucrative currently is that it's easy to grow but options for acquiring it are limited. At least, that's how I understand it. The price (and therefore potential tax revenue) would plummet upon legalization, unless severe restrictions remained on who could sell and who could grow.

      The claims that Big Agri and Big Pharma hate pot because they can't make money on it (which you didn't make, but is a common meme) don't mesh with the notion that this is some untapped goldmine of tax revenue.

      The real fiscal attraction here is all the money you're not spending on the drug war. Of course, that also represents jobs destroyed from space with drug lasers, but fuck those jobs, they're douchebags.

      1. yyyaz

        The growing/selling restrictions don't have to be *severe.* Plenty of users don't have the space, time or inclination to grow their own. As for Big Agri/Pharma, word on the street was always that they had the best seed stocks on the planet, just waiting for the green light to stick 'em in the ground. You do know that the Revenooers do allow you to brew your own bathtub gin, right? And that alcohol taxes have shrunk as a percentage of the tax stream from 11% pre-WWII to 1% today but still bring in $6 billion? A little adjustment here and taxing legal hemp, along with the reductions (right!!!1) to law-enforcement should be worth $20 billion a year easily.

  7. PuckStopsHere

    I had to take a drug test for a job this one time and when I passed I said, "I knew it! I'm calling my dealer right away. I knew that pot he sold me was bullshit…"

    1. Tundra Grifter

      Was the drug test mulitple choice?

      They gave me a drug test at work once. I said "Man, that shit is bunk!" and didn't buy any.

  8. Baconzgood

    (Sound of bong gurgling)

    Wha…? I kinda drifted off there on this post. Did you say somthing about Ho-Hos?

  9. EatsBabyDingos

    My latest weed has been so spectacular that it gives me an atomic buzz. In anticipation of the obvious 2012 GOP slate of Gingrich/Paul, I am now refering to my combustion tube as a "Newt-Ron Bong."

  10. Extemporanus

    Potheads really need to learn how to negotiate.

    What they should be demanding is the legalization of heroin or crack or meth or whatever. Then, when that's summarily shot down, they can reluctantly agree to the legalization of marijuana as part of reasonable compromise.

    Also, they should stop wearing fucking tie dye.

  11. EatsBabyDingos

    When I play "Feds & Heads," I made a whole new "Burns, Busts, Bummers and Ripoffs" card that says "Conservative Democrat elected President-lose one lid but gain a price increase-Hurray?"

  12. MarionNYNY

    Why not make them all transfer from easy liberal arts colleges like Occidental to more competitive ivy league schools like Columbia, so they'll have to question their chronic use of the chronic, start jogging, and generally get their act together in order to keep up.

  13. Baconzgood

    I'm on the fence in regards to legal marijuana. On the one hand it IS pretty harmless and I don't mind people doing it, in fact, I've done it alot when I was younger. On the other hand legal marijuana will create more Gratefull Dead and Phish fans, which I'm adamantly against.

  14. Mumbletypeg

    I'd willingly hold the banner that reads: "Munchies Create Jobs" because I believe it to be true.
    Sadly, the converse is also true: "Joblessness Creates the Munchies.." ..day-long, and year-round. *hangs head in wonder*

  15. ph7

    Weed gets you through times of no constructive civil discourse better than constructive civil discourse gets you through times of no weed.

  16. Larry McAwful

    Which begs the question: should we change the flag so that we remove the stars and replace them with fifty pot leaves, or just one big pot leaf? I lean toward one big pot leaf, myself.

  17. larryfinexx

    I will not have anything to say about this until Rick Santorum tells me the right thing to do about narcotic usage.

  18. weej_bain

    BUT…THE ’60s!!!! DON’T THEY REMEMBER? What happened? Why won’t you talk about it?

    Liz, Liz, year one of the baby boomers, those born in 1492 1946 are just turning 65 this year. Hey, there are a lot of us, but jeesh just a year and 30 days worth boomers is not gonna have those filthy hippies taking complete control of the >65 demographic. That will take until my full year is on board, so ya gotta wait 'til the end of 2013.

      1. ShaveTheWhales

        weejee is probably still dating his checks 2011, just like the rest of us. But the basic point stands — I was born in 1947, I graduated college in 1969. In the midwest (e.g., U of Wisconsin), weed only went "mainstream acceptable" during the latter half of the 60's. Look at the "50-65" cohort in the Gallup poll: 49% favor legalization. That's where most of the boomers are.

  19. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    Strangely enough, the most common question toward the president from the Internet is "What are you wearing?"

  20. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    BUT…THE ’60s!!!! DON’T THEY REMEMBER? What happened? Why won’t you talk about it?

    Not is they smoked pot.

  21. Guppy

    "Interestingly, Americans 65 and older are still the ones most opposed to marijuana legalization."

    Once again, Boomers ruin everything they touch.

    1. yyyaz

      See weej_bain, above. I was the first jock/student councilmember/braintrust member in my high school to inhale. People 7 years older than I — the first across the 65 line here in 2012 — were making babies/getting their asses shot off in Vietnam. They were my grandparents as far as I was concerned, or Nixon's "silent majority," if you will.

      1. chicken_thief

        True. Someone born in '46 was likely back from Nam and married with a baby on the way by '67 – when my 15 yr old ass was starting to drink and get high. Some of them 20-somethings were ok, but most were just too fucking old and set in their ways.

  22. UnholyMoses

    To be non-snarky for a sec:

    I am someone who, without weed, would be in a hospital with a feeding tube down my throat, all thanks to nearly a decade's-worth of meds that have destroyed my stomach's ability to empty within a few hours (food stays in it for 8-12 hours, which … well, trust me, ain't fun).

    But despite the fact MY DOCTOR SUGGESTED IT, I live in a state that doesn't have medical marijuana laws (actually, they do, and it's ILLEGAL) and can only get Marinol, which is fake THC and TOTALLY ineffective. Thus, I either have to break the law, run up thousands in medical bills, or … well, die.

    Those are my options.

    So the best idea might be to do what's been happening: legalize on the state, and then federal, level for medical purposes, wait a few years for folks to realize the world ain't gonna end, and then go for full-on legalization.

    Don't get me wrong — I'd love for complete legalization (of EVERYTHING), especially because my plight is jack shit compared with the horrors happening between drug gangs in Mexico.

    But, given the reticence some have to it, starting early might be the most viable alternative.

    Just my $.02 … keep the change, YMMV, etc. etc. etc.

  23. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    You would think at a time where we have to cut the military, social programs and still give big tax breaks to the rich, getting rid of the the ton of money we spend on drug enforcement, along with adding a nice tax rate equivalent of what we do with liquor would make some sense for both Obama and any Republican candidate.

    Plus, you have the wonderful benefit of defunding gangs and Mexican drug lords, while allowing people to relax.

    And, would the 'baggers be so disruptive and gun mad if they had a little THC in their lives?

    It is the ultimate win/win situation.

  24. BarackMyWorld

    Isn't it weird how older people have high voter turn out and SEEM TO GET EVERYTHING THEY WANT FROM THE GOVERNMENT???? Think there's a correlation there or something?

    1. ShaveTheWhales

      Well, I'm 64 and I always vote and I DON"T GET EVERYTHING I WANT FROM GOVERNMENT.

      So I guess I'm not really old. Hmm.

  25. Wonderthing

    I think mair-juwana should be "illegal wink wink". It stays illegal which keeps the prices high, but no one gets arrested.

  26. GOPCrusher

    I'm still really shocked that the move to legalize marijuana in California did not pass, until you hear of the millions of dollars that was pumped into the election to convince growers that they would lose money if marijuana was made legal.

  27. deanbooth

    Last summer we had a living room full of geezerly relatives (my wife's parents, aunts and uncles), and when one of them insisted that all druggies be arrested, she admitted that she had smoked pot. Of course, my only option was to feign shock and indignation!

  28. DahBoner

    Basically, Obama is continuing the status quo policy of claiming it is a Schedule 1 drug, so you can't grow it cheaply and easily.

    And all the while the U.S. government owns a patent on cannabinoid compound formula, which if you read the patent filing is one of the safest and most powerful medicine on Earth:
    http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=P

  29. Steverino247

    There are valid medicinal uses for THC. The "getting high" part of that use is actually a bothersome side effect for medicinal users. Studies can't legally be done, the strength of the drug varies widely, etc.

    I am a medicinal user of Vicodin for pain relief. There are non-medicinal uses of Vicodin and those uses make me jump through stupid hoops to get relief. Therefore, I'd say I have some idea what the real medicinal marijuana users have to put up with. I don't have a problem with the medicinal use of any drug and would hope for research to make better drugs, which means fewer troubling side effects.

    For those persons who clamor for legalization for medicinal uses when you're really after getting high all the time, you're fucking it up for those people who really need the relief. The Feds know what you're up to. You're helping to keep bad policy in place and smoking that stuff knowing full well somebody got his body chopped up into taco parts in order to bring it to you. Wait until it gets legalized, is produced locally without bloodshed and regulated on the dosages and then go for it. OK?

  30. msrhpvt

    No joke folks. Marijuana is mostly harmless and highly beneficial. the Corrections Corporation of America is why pot is still illegal. They spend millions making sure there are plenty of 'criminals' to put into their taxpayer funded for profit prison cells. It's a sick game that I, for one, am sick of.

  31. arcadesproject

    My friend Bella died of complications- not of cancer but of cancer treatment. She finally got pnuemonia, couldn't shake it and died. Probably the thing that weakened her most was lack of nutrition. She lost her appetite. Couldn't keep food down. Got thinner and thinner. Weaker and Weaker. One of her doctors recommended that she score marijuana to help with the nausea. She objected that she didn't smoke. I begged her to follow his advice and bake it into some goddamned brownies. She blew me off. She died. At twenty seven.

    O is worse than a wanker he's a goddamned sadist.

  32. Negropolis

    Weed matters for a whole host of reasons not related to its recreational use, and I'm not even that much of a hippy, nor do I or have I smoked it or anything else. But, I don't think we need to malign those seeking the repeal of the prohibition of something that has led to a lot of our larger issues and problems. You remove weed as a legal problem, and a lot of shit starts to clear up very quickly.

    The prohibtion of marijuana does strike me as an intensely Very Serious Thing, and no amount of reducing the movement to dope-headed Paultards and Kuchiniks changes that fact, for me. It is such a strong and symbolic example of a failed policy, and with so many people agreeing to that view, that this seems like something we should do, already, to prove that we can do other things.

    Until we get beyond the prohibition, not much else will matter, particularly for our hollowed out urban areas. It's time to stop using conservative framing and tropes on issues of importance because it makes the other side nervous or angry. It's why they get shit done, and we're always twiddling our thumbs and getting nothing done.

    "Pot fanatics" didn't "ruin" anything. They were being just as righteously annoying and dogged as those seeking the repeal of DADT.

    1. Man0nTheStreet

      A compelling and well-reasoned argument. Were you high when you wrote that?

      But Srsly, I am mystified by Obama's apparent "war on pot-shops" here in California. It seems like such an impolitic squandering of political capital, pissing off his natural allies, without a reward in sight, over an issue that he could just as easily lay low on for now in light of the much bigger things on his plate. What gives?

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