On Weed

Recently by Robert Wenzel: The World’s Most Dangerous Cities

The Prez appears to have been quite the Hawaii pot head.

Buzzfeed has what at first seems a hilarious take on the President and his serious weed smoking days. It’s a must read: A User’s Guide to Smoking Pot with Barack Obama.

But there is another side to the story, the Prez as serious hypocrite. Firedoglake has that side of the story:

Details from a new book Barack Obama: The Story contains in-depth details about his frequent marijuana use as a young man. Although Obama admitted to using marijuana in his memoir Dreams From My Father, we now learn for example that Obama was a frequently indulging aficionado who was a big fan of hot boxing in cars. While Obama’s past marijuana use is treated as merely a funny anecdote, his hypocrisy on the issue of marijuana and the destruction his continued support for prohibition causes is no laughing matter.

In 2010 roughly 850,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana related offenses of which the vast majority was for possession. That means since Obama took office it is likely well over 2.5 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana. Millions arrested for committing the same basic "crime" our President often committed during his youth.

While Obama was lucky enough not to get a criminal record for his mostly harmless marijuana use, hundreds of thousands of other Americans this year were not as fortunate, especially young African American and Latino males who are disproportionately arrested at much higher rates for marijuana. Many of these young people will be burdened with a records that could permanently hurt their employment prospects and they will lose the federal support they need to attend college.

If Obama were a young man today and got arrested for his marijuana use under our currently policy, the negative consequences from such an arrest could easily have stopped him from ever becoming President. Clearly, the actual use of marijuana didn’t hurt Obama by making him less successful, but the consequences of our prohibition easily could have. But not only does Obama support maintaining this current drug policy, which is more damaging to people than the drug itself, but his administration has taken the federal war against medical marijuana to new heights.

Contrast this with Ron Paul, who I seriously doubt has ever taken one puff of weed in his life. (He told me that it was only recently that he started drinking red wine.). Yet, it is Ron Paul who wants to eliminate federal drug laws. If he were president, he would pardon those in jail for federal drug offenses and disband the DEA.

That’s the difference between a man of principle who favors liberty for all and a scheming elitist like President Obama. Dr. Paul. just wouldn’t touch weed, but as a man in favor liberty, he wouldn’t bother with anyone else who chose to use it. President Obama, on the other hand, as an elitist, views himself above the law. For him to be a Hawaii pot head was just fine, but now, in power, he uses the power of federal government to crush those who now do what he did.

Reprinted with permission from Economic Policy Journal.

2012 Economic Policy Journal