As you’ve probably heard by now, President Obama, in a recent interview with The New Yorker magazine has kicked the cause for legalizing marijuana use forward:
Less dangerous, he said, “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer. It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.” What clearly does trouble him is the radically disproportionate arrests and incarcerations for marijuana among minorities. “Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,” he said. “And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.” But, he said, “we should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing.” Accordingly, he said of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington that “it’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”
So, let’s see here. He doesn’t encourage it, he thinks it’s a bad idea, it’s a waste of time and it’s not very healthy. Yet, it’s important for the legalization of pot to move forward?
A few thoughts:
* Given all of the health problems spawned by regular old “smoking” and the effects of second hand smoke, it seems kind of odd for anyone to promote more smoking of any kind. I know, I know, “kids” probably won’t be fogging an entire pack at one, but you never know.
* This sounds strangely like the view of many politicians on abortion, “I don’t want my kid to do it, but that doesn’t mean others can’t.” How about just saying, “This isn’t the right thing to do. I don’t recommend it for my kids or any other. There’s no reason for this to be recreationally legal.”
* It’s a rather strange to say because people are getting in trouble with the law, that they law should be abandoned. I can think of a few other ways where this logic could be applied as well – some good and some not so good. I would say African-Americans and Latinos are having trouble with the law because of breakdowns in the family unit. I’m not saying white kids don’t smoke hooch. They do. I’m just saying unstable family units create all sorts of problems. Run-ins with the law are an example. It also seems strange that smoking pot is something to encourage for African-American and Latino youths.
* I’ve also been amazed at the pro-pot response. The President has struck political gold here. Pot will be legalized across the country someday and the President’s comments will be viewed in hindsight as a pivotal moment.