White House Spokesperson responds to follow-up questions by the press…
Robert Gibbs spent several minutes further ridiculing the marijuana questions, sometimes with the press laughing as well, while trying to indicate that Obama was just trying to give a nod to the fact that the question had been voted very high, even though it was ridiculous.
One member of the press corps, however, brought up the fact that marijuana legalization is a serious subject to many people, particularly with Mexico right now, and when Gibbs didn’t really respond, the reporter asked him to explain “Why?” “Why he feels that way about legalizing marijuana?”
Here was Gibbs’ response:
“Uh, he, he does not think that, uh, uh, that that is uh, uh, [pause] he opposes it, he doesn’t think that that’s the, the right plan for America.”
Apparently that is the new U.S. Government position on why marijuana should be illegal.
It’s fascinating that he couldn’t come up with anything other than the equivalent of… “because.”
If we can’t have an Administration that can have an honest dialogue about marijuana legalization, I guess the next best thing is to have one that can’t talk about it at all.
Update: Keep in mind that we don’t need President Obama’s assistance in this area. We were never going to get any kind of legalization effort from him (we knew that from the start).
We could get some very important things from him in terms of harm reduction support and sentencing reform — and we need to continue to push in those areas as well. We may also benefit from some benign neglect in certain areas (such as a reduction in the level of propaganda emanating from the White House compared to the John Walters era.)
As much as we would like for the President to at least say “Let’s have an open, honest national dialogue” (and his unwillingness to say that is a strong sign of weakness), you can bet every one of his advisors saw what happened to the El Paso City Council when they called for that, and they probably told him to joke about potheads (I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if that apparently ad-libbed moment of Obama’s was scripted).
But we have reached a kind of critical mass, so it doesn’t even matter that much. We have been getting more serious discussions in serious places about marijuana legalization in recent days than… well, ever — even his mocking derision got more people talking seriously. And that helps us gets the discussion out to the people, who own the possibility of change in this particular arena.
Further update: Oh, and be sure to go read Allan Erickson’s article at the Salem-News.com. President Used Marijuana but Mocks & Dismisses Legalization. Nice job, Allan! For those here from that article, here is the link to the Peter McWilliams story.