John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Reefer Madness

Posted on March 29, 2010
The State of California is pushing to make cannabis legal.  Apparently getting high is the best way for Californians to balance their state budget.

Folks, you can’t really make this stuff up.

When I was in 7th grade, I promised myself that I would never smoke pot or cigarettes.  My family was going through a tough time, and I made a decision to stay on the straight and narrow, mostly because everything else was going crazy.

Back then (in the late 70’s) everybody smoked pot, even 7th graders.  This was the time before Ronald Reagan, before the war on drugs, before Nancy said, “Just Say No."   I remember at our high school, when kids used to gather around to Bio Pond to smoke doobies in between their lunch breaks.  This era was nicely summarized in that classic movie, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High," one of funniest period piece movies of all time.

But getting stoned in between gym class and algebra really isn’t that funny.  I hate to be a party pooper, but smoking pot in high school is not really very good for kids in the long run.

That being said, I have always been a tad ambivalent about the war on pot.  I don’t think kids should do it, but then again, not very many people who have gone through college have avoided smoking a joint or two, including our President, who in his autobiography described how he not only smoked pot, but also snorted cocaine.

Remember when Bill Clinton said that he smoked pot, but didn’t inhale?  Well, President Obama -- and probably President Bush the Second, if the rumors are true-- did more than just smoke pot, and they seem to have turned out all right (besides being a communist or a fascist, depending on your viewpoint).

But I think that if we are going to have a change in national policy when it comes to marijuana, we should change the law or something.  What we have instead is the pronouncement by Eric Holder that he just isn’t going to enforce the anti-pot laws anymore.   Or as Huffington Post put it last year, “Attorney General Eric Holder said at a press conference Wednesday that the Justice Department will no longer raid medical marijuana clubs that are established legally under state law. His declaration is a fulfillment of a campaign promise by President Barack Obama, and marks a major shift from the previous administration."

As Robert Schlesinger of US News and World Report put it, “Eric Holder essentially gave federal approval Wednesday to partial decriminalization of marijuana in certain states."  The policy is to go after those people who violate both federal and state law," Holder told reporters. In other words, medical marijuana dispensaries which operate legally in California and a dozen other states won't be the targets of drug enforcement raids. While not surprising, the policy announcement does mark, as the L.A. Times notes, "a sweeping change in federal drug policy."

California started the medical marijuana ball rolling a couple of years ago, in the hopes that eventually, it would be cool to smoke pot for just about any reason.  If Holder is going to make the point that whatever the states want to do on pot is cool with him, well, then that gives the Californians all the juice they need to make smoking grass a-ok.

And so, now, the Californians have put pot on the ballot this November, and pot advocates say that they are going to get in on the ballot in Colorado in 2012.  Talk about Rocky Mountain High!

I went on the CNBC website, and they have a whole slideshow on the pot marketplace.  The good stuff goes for about 4000 dollars a pound.  It all depends on the soil, I guess.

The good thing about the end of prohibition was that that President Roosevelt actually signed a repeal of the Volstead Act (which was probably the worst law ever enacted in history).  For some reason, I think I would rather have President Obama sign a law ending pot prohibition, rather than having Eric Holder just refuse to enforce the law.