“It’s time to declare that the media ritual of asking presidential candidates if they ever smoked pot can put to rest. Because the answer is always ‘yes’ and nobody cares.” That’s how Bill Maher starts off his diatribe on his HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher. In the episode, entitled Weed the People, political analyst and comedic satirist Maher breaks down his views on the marijuana debate in the current cultural climate. There are no sacred cows as Maher extends his insightful commentary to everyone from Bill Clinton to George Bush, President Obama to Sarah Palin, and Ted Cruz to Jeb Bush.
Maher points out that all of these politicians have admitted to smoking marijuana in the past. However, paraphrasing Maher, their defense of “I was young and stupid,” let’s them go on with their lives, continue to build their political careers and amass wealth and power.
“Except that’s not a defense that’s readily available for most of the 700,000 people who get arrested [for drug offense] every year,” points out Maher.
So he gets to the heart of the issue; the disparity of arrests, access to the legal system, sentencing and incarcerations that’s doled out in this country based on money and wealth, not justice and equality. Maher advises that if you’re going to have an honest conversation with your children about experimenting with drugs, make sure they understand it’s far better to be white and from a connected family.
Maher then sharpens his focus to what needs to be done. Exposing President Obama for being wishy-washy on gay marriage until the polls tipped in favor of the issue, he thinks it’s time for the President to make right what is wrong when it comes to marijuana.
“You can see the progression. From Clinton copping to it, but still needing to say that he didn’t inhale to George W. Bush not denying it, but just saying he wouldn’t answer, to Obama who said yeah, I smoked weed. I smoked a lot of it, and I looked cool doing it. But don’t all these guys, Clinton, Jeb, W., Obama, don’t they all owe a debt to the 40,000 unlucky Americans currently in jail for the exact same crime?”
Maher goes on to urge the President to take broad and magnanimous action. “Come on, man,” says Maher, ostensibly directing his words at Obama, “You’ve gone down the list reversing the stupidities of the past healthcare, torture, gay marriage, immigration, Cuba. It’s pot’s turn, and not just legalization. Obama should acknowledge that putting people in jail for nonviolent drug offenses was a giant mistake in the first place, and then he should use the power of the presidential pardon, and free them all.”
Of course we won’t see that happen, but Maher’s argument doesn’t fall on deaf ears. As the majority of states now have some sort of law that decriminalizes weed, either for medical purposes or making it outright legal, and even the federal government is seeing bills come to light that would leave control of the issue up to the states, the political winds are changing faster than even the Washington rudder can change course.
It’s time to end the sickening hypocrisy that’s displayed by Jed Bush, Ted Cruz, and especially the 700,000 other Americans incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses, and end marijuana prohibition once and for all.
You can watch the full video here: