Last Sunday, Salon published a piece focusing on the dope details of a New Yorker interview with President Obama (you guys, he totally smoked pot). Katie McDonough, who published the piece, highlighted Obama’s views on the legalization of weed in Washington and Colorado, showing the president as a chill bro regarding this issue. According to McDonough, Obama actually cited weed as being less dangerous than alcohol, a massive truth most people already know but for some reason remains highly controversial.
In 2013, Colorado and Washington legalized the possession of a little pot, as well as its consumption. This followed a long series of states decriminalizing and allowing the medical use of the drug, which was awesome but confusing, as the laws were weirdly written and no one quite knew what was actually allowed. To my knowledge, the federal government and state laws don’t quite agree, but hopefully folks will come to their senses about weed, really the least of anyone’s worries. There are bigger fish to fry, and dank herb should stop taking so much legislative time.
McDonough’s excerpt of the interview, conducted by David Remnick, has Obama revealing his real problem with the whole thing. According to Obama, the whole drug war tends to target lower class people, many middle and upper class folks getting off with warnings or nothings. Jails today are filled to bursting with inmates whose only crimes were marijuana-related, and that’s crazy. As said before, Obama explained his views that pot is by no means more dangerous than alcohol (the Internet is brimming with “No one dies from weed!” style comments), but too many people are being locked up for it. Also, the powers that be, the ones who rampantly throw people in jail, probably smoke weed themselves, making for a dangerous, racial double standard.
Obama’s main point in the interview is that the country should not be piled high with people getting punished for something everyone does, but only moneyed folks can defend against legally. It’s a fact of life: nearly everyone smokes at least a little pot. Obama smoked marijuana, and as far as I’m concerned, he’s a fine dude.
The problem continues to be a climate of racism and ignorance (both of class relations and actual science). Sure, smoking weed may not be the healthiest habit, but no one should be penalized so harshly for it. A stoned person is far less likely to commit a heinous act of violence or sexual assault than someone who’s sucked down a few too many cocktails (at a bar one has to drive to, to make matters more complicated). Absolutely no one should die in gang warfare over a substance that makes you want to order Dominoes and giggle at James Franco. But violence and jail time accompany weed culture, and racism permeates the so-called quest for a drug-free environment.
Legalizing marijuana on a broader scale could eliminate ridiculous deaths and abuse of the law; pot should be disassociated from the crime world, and the police should really not be able to get away with shooting someone for weed possession. People could have equal opportunity to enjoy getting stoned without the fear of being penalized (minorities are less likely to get out of said punishments while affluent folks often walk away from them). Really, legalizing weed may reveal the racism, classism, and other ignorant views that are masked by a big, expensive drug war. With that power structure torn apart, at least some of the horrid vibes would have to disintegrate or find outlets in other places (hopefully not the latter).
Obama is right to advocate for legalization, because ultimately, legal herb makes for a much chiller country (at least, I hope so). And again, Mary Jane shouldn’t even be an issue when war, guns, and other atrocities happen actually everywhere all the damn time. Too much weed may make some folks a little silly, but ultimately, that’s preferable to hyperactive, violent, obsessive hatred robots (you know, some people).