By "Radical" Russ Belville What happened to the Obama who said the War on Drugs was "an utter failure" and that we need to "rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws"?
(Washington Examiner) In his high school yearbook photo, President Barack Obama sports a white leisure suit and a Travolta-esque collar whose wingspan could put a bystander’s eye out. Hey, it was 1979.
Maybe that explains the rest of young Barry’s yearbook page, with its “still life” featuring a pack of rolling papers and a shout-out to the “Choom gang.” (“Chooming” is Hawaiian slang for smoking pot.)
Far be it from me to condemn our president for harmless (and amusing) youthful indiscretions. As his predecessor put it, “When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible.”
But Obama’s older now, and he’s responsible for administering our nation’s drug policy. Surely he can’t feel comfortable locking up thousands of Americans for the sort of behavior that gave him a chuckle three decades ago.
Yet, in his new National Drug Control Strategy, Obama “firmly opposes the legalization of marijuana or any other illicit drug” and boasts of his administration’s aggressive approach to pot eradication. Watch your back, Choom Gang.
I often wonder how politicians with personal experience with cannabis can be so cavalier about locking up young adults who did what they did. Here’s what I’ve come up with when I try to imagine how the Barack Obama of 2010 can rationalize locking up the Barry Obama of 1979:
-- “Oh, sure, I turned out OK, but remember what happened to Li’l Pakalolo?” (I don’t know that Obama had a pal in his “Choom Gang” called “Li’l Pakalolo”, but let’s pretend.) ”Li’l Pak was stoned 24/7 and eventually developed a heroin habit.”
-- “Well, back then we weren’t smoking the new super potent ‘Pot 2.0: Not Your Father’s Woodstock Weed!’ That new stuff really could have messed me up back in the day.”
-- “Look, I’m the president now – I can’t go out and tell the truth and make people think I think smoking pot is OK!”
-- “This is bigger than just legalization of marijuana. It’s medicine, it’s energy, it’s food and I’ve got to deal with Big Pharma, Big Oil, and Big Agribusiness. Not to mention all the law enforcement jobs and multiple federal and state bureaucracies that exist to enforce drug laws! This is going to have to go slowly so we can completely re-engineer our economy.”
No matter what I come up with, though, I can’t figure out how putting a person in a cage for using a plant helps the person or the society in any way whatsoever.