Booker and Marijuana Hypocrisy

Dr. Sanjay Gupta did a CNN special recently about marijuana and it featured an interview with Sen. Corey Booker, who is co-sponsoring a bill (with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Rand Paul) that would end federal enforcement of laws when states have allowed the medical use of marijuana. He made a powerful point about hypocrisy:

In the interview with Gupta (found at the 38-minute mark), Booker calls for a “revolution” in U.S. drug laws.

“Our drug laws in this country, as a whole, need a revolution of common sense and compassion,” Booker explains…

Booker then turned to his fellow lawmakers who have admitted to smoking weed.

“Let’s stop the pot hypocrisy,” Booker said as Gillibrand laughed. “We now have three presidents that have admitted to smoking marijuana. People in public office, all throughout the Senate, have said, ‘Hey, I’ve smoked marijuana recreationally.’ How much of a hypocrite do you have to be to say that I broke American laws using pot as a recreational thing, that I’m not going to support this idea, as a medicine for severely sick people, that they shouldn’t be able to access this drug.”

But this still doesn’t go far enough. The last three presidents have all admitted to smoking pot, as have innumerable members of Congress. But bear in mind what they would have faced had they been arrested for it. Upon conviction, their lives would likely have been ruined (at least if they had been ordinary people; Bush would probably have been just fine because of his family’s money). They would become ineligible for federal education grants and loans. They would have become ineligible for many forms of public assistance, including housing (this doesn’t affect the wealthy or middle class, but it traps hundreds of thousands of poor people every single year).

Marijuana prohibition alone has destroyed millions of lives, torn apart families and doomed whole communities, almost always poor and minority people. Yet we have privileged politicians who did the exact same thing but faced none of those consequences continuing to demand that other people pay this massive price for a crime they themselves committed and walked away from unscathed. This isn’t just hypocrisy, it’s vile and unjust.

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  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Look, I’m all for Liberty, but not if it allows people to enjoy themselves. It’s “the pursuit of happiness”, not its attainment.

  • expatriarchy

    Modusoperandi,

    You have made a lot of very witty responses over the years I have been reading Pharngula, but this is the first time I burst out in laughter. I plan on recycling this one.

  • grumpyoldfart

    My friends tell me marijuana is not addictive – so why are they up at seven-o-clock on Sunday morning and driving across to the other side of town looking for a deal?

  • typecaster

    Grumpyoldfart – a good friend of mine does exactly the same thing, only for him it’s electronics swap meets. He’s not addicted, he just needs a little jolt now and then.

  • comfychair

    Anyone who still thinks the shit should be illegal, I’m sending you one of my migraines, completely free of charge. Don’t worry, I’ll still have plenty of them left since I live in a state with no medical-use exemptions.

  • Michael Heath

    grumpyoldfart writes:

    My friends tell me marijuana is not addictive – so why are they up at seven-o-clock on Sunday morning and driving across to the other side of town looking for a deal?

    I do most of my meat-world shopping early-Sunday morning. Some of us aren’t into lazing around all day; it appears that includes your pot-smoking friends. Another stereotype blown?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    expatriarchy “Modusoperandi, you have made a lot of very witty responses over the years I have been reading Pharngula, but this is the first time I burst out in laughter…”

    Luckily, I manage to stay humble. Handsome, too. And also I’m a hit with the ladies and they don’t find me weird and creepy. Not even when I’m peeping.

    I’ve said too much.

     

    “…I plan on recycling this one.”

    No problem. Be sure to credit whoever I stole it from.

     

    Michael Heath “I do most of my meat-world shopping early-Sunday morning…”

    That’s the most serial-killerest thing I’ve heard all day.

  • Michael Heath

    Me earlier:

    I do most of my meat-world shopping early-Sunday morning…”

    Modusoperandi writes:

    That’s the most serial-killerest thing I’ve heard all day.

    The stoners are particularly vulnerable at that time.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Michael Heath, isn’t the time stoners are particularly vulnerable all the time?*

     

    * Take that, hippies!

  • http://kamakanui.zenfolio.com Kamaka

    @ grumpyoldfart

    Oh, please, everyone knows Friday is score day.

  • http://kamakanui.zenfolio.com Kamaka

    @ grumpyoldfart

    Are you pretending you have never smoked gange?

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    My friends tell me marijuana is not addictive – so why are they up at seven-o-clock on Sunday morning and driving across to the other side of town looking for a deal?

    Because, unlike other intoxicants such as beer and cigarettes or coffee, normal people cannot stock a significant supply. Firstly, because the costs are artificially inflated, but secondly because there are sentencing guidelines based on quantity. It may be one thing to get caught with an ounce, but a pound is an entirely different matter. You can get caught with a bottle of beer, or you can have a wine cellar and 6 cases of beer in your basement like I do.

  • billyeager

    To quote Hicks, “Not only should marijuana be legalised, it should be mandatory!”

    I just figure that the pro would largely outweigh the con on this one.

  • StevoR

    The last three presidents have all admitted to smoking pot, as have innumerable members of Congress.

    I wonder how many of the current Republican presidential wannabes have :

    1) smoked dope

    2) are willing to admit to have smoked dope

    3) think /know whether their base also smokes dope and gives / doesn’t give a shit about the issue and their own hypothetical consumption?