Monday, June 8, 2009

If Barack Had Been Busted (Updated)

I've often wondered about about this, I'm sure many of us have. GoVaporize* puts the question out there:
"So to cut to the chase, here’s my question President Obama"
"If you had been arrested for cannabis possession as a young man, or God forbid cocaine possession, Where would you be today?"

People are able to comment, so I left mine while also replying to another readers comment on the post:

@ MEDITERANIAN213 While I feel for you that you had a bad experience with Cannabis, would it be wrong of me to wonder if there were also not other factors contributing to your problems? Are you blaming Cannabis solely for all of your ills? Addiction usually occurs because of many factors in one’s life.

People can be addicted to thousands of different substances. Should government be able to tell you to put down that cheeseburger? Moderation is the key. Everything and anything has the potential to be abused.

It’s unfortunate when people get addicted to drugs. What will help them break their addictions? Treatment and rehabilitation. Not jail. Jail will just bring them more harm as they will be surrounded be violent people. This will depress a person further and does not address their health needs.

Upon release they can’t get a student loan to further their education, have a hard time getting a job and housing because of their criminal record and and they are more susceptible to falling right back into the habits and behaviors that put them in jail in the first place. It’s a formula to re-offend.

Education, Prevention, Harm Reduction, Youth Programs, Mentoring, these are things that need to be pillars of society if we are ever going to survive. Instead, billions are spent on enforcement - primarily after damage has already been done. Does that make sense?

Laws are enacted to punish people for causing harm to others. I argue that me eating a Cannabis Cookie for pain has no consequence to anyone but myself. It should not be the right of the government and police to restrict what individuals choose to put into their personal bodies.

Now, if someone causes physical harm or property damage while under the influence of a substance, then yes, they should be criminally charged. Someone can drink alcohol, and that’s fine. But if they drink and drive, it is not.

The fact is that millions of people use Cannabis responsibly and carry on successful, healthy, happy, productive lives. The prohibition of the plant and fear of incarceration, losing our kids and or jobs leads us to keep our use a secret. If coffee was illegal you’d immediately have millions of people proclaiming that “they never touch the stuff”. Meanwhile, every morning they are throwing a wet towel at the bottom of their doors and firing up their percolators. By the way, Caffeine is more addictive than Cannabis.

Getting back to the question of the post though, I think it is tragic that the President of the United States, Barack Obama, can freely admit to using Cannabis and Cocaine, and at the same time condone laws that enable the DEA and police to throw non-violent citizens in jail for doing the exact same thing. He is just one of the lucky ones that didn’t get caught.

Humans have been using Cannabis/Hemp for thousands of years. Enacting prohibition isn’t going to make the plant magically disappear. You can’t outlaw Mother Nature. Government should be regulating what could be a booming industry and take away the money source for cartels and gangs….. how hard is that to comprehend?

How can the President profess “America, Home of the Free” when hundreds of thousands of citizens are incarcerated for simple possession? If President Obama actually believed in true freedom he would strike down prohibition and end the Drug War. Society will never prosper as a whole until the US has a President brave enough to end the War on People that has been such a colossal failure.

I'd sure like to know what his answer would be to the above question, but I doubt he has the fortitude to answer.

Update: February 26, 2012 ~ The "Discrimination" photo featuring President Obama came across my Facebook News Feed and I asked Mr. Rice if I could share his experience. I felt it is very important to share the story of how a years old conviction for Cannabis destroyed his accomplishment of getting a janitorial job he had just landed over hundreds of other applicants.

"If you get caught with Marijuana it will effect your employment prospects for the rest of your life and you will be part of a permanent underclass.
If you don't get caught you can move on with your life and maybe even become President one day." ~ Chris Rice

True story: In January 2009 I lost a good paying construction job because the housing market crashed. I was competing against hundreds for each possible job opening when looking for employment. I managed to pass tests and interviews beating hundreds for one low paying maintenance job at a public housing project. Four hours after they called to tell me to start next week they called me to tell me they couldn't hire me because of a misdemeanor marijuana conviction 8 years earlier. I was never asked the question on the application or in the interview. They stated that any drug conviction ever and I could not work for them. I can't plunge toilets for people living in a public housing project because I got caught with a few grams of pot 8 years earlier! What am I supposed to do to live and support my son?

As long as I face discrimination for this conviction I will have to fight this injustice! I have sworn to this statement: "I will never vote for anyone that wants to put me in jail or wants me to be discriminated against, even for a short time." I hope you will make this pact as well.
This is not about smoking pot. I don't smoke pot anymore. This is about a life of discrimination for doing what 100 million Americans have done. Please watch the video I made that hits this point.

Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama talk about their Marijuana use

Video of Presidents Obama, Bush, and Clinton talking about their own Marijuana use and see how their lives contrast with those who are arrested and given a criminal conviction.
Share and tag this video please! Make sure you include this description with the video link if you re-post:

"If you get caught with Marijuana it will effect your employment prospects for the rest of your life and you will be part of a permanent underclass. If you don't get caught you can move on with your life and maybe even become President one day. We need to end the life time of discrimination now!"

Mr. Rice informs me "[...] in California the law is such that an employer can't ask, you do not have to answer, and they are not able to look up marijuana convictions that are more than 2 years old. They are one of the only states that have this privacy law. It is a misdemeanor for them to even ask if it is more than two years old. They also can't ask about arrests that didn't result in a conviction on anything. We need this in every state as a harm reduction measure at the very least if they wish to continue the drug war."

Notice in the California Labor Codes:

432.8. The limitations on employers and the penalties provided for
in Section 432.7 shall apply to a conviction for violation of
subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 11357 of the Health and Safety Code
or a statutory predecessor thereof, or subdivision (c) of Section
11360 of the Health and Safety Code, or Section 11364, 11365, or 11550 of the Health and Safety Code as they related to marijuana prior to January 1, 1976, or a statutory predecessor thereof, two years from the date of such a conviction.

Two links that concern a court case over the marijuana section in the California Labor Code are: California Employment Applications Must Exclude Certain Marijuana Convictions -- Starbucks v. Superior Court (Lords) and
Questions Regarding Marijuana Convictions on a Job Application Must Be Clear and Unambiguous

This is an important part of the campaign to me to keep people from being discriminated for the rest of their lives over a conviction for an herb. [...] I first saw a disclaimer in Illinois while filling out an application for Manpower Temp Service and it said if I was a California resident I didn't have to answer if it was a marijuana conviction. It didn't apply to me in Illinois. That's what got me going on this thinking that we needed this privacy law everywhere. ~ Chris Rice

Picture Courtesy Chris Rice, please share with the above video link, Thanks! ~ MJ

Thank you, Mr. Rice, for letting me share your story. This is the real world, everyone, where real people like Chris Rice have had their lives so unnecessarily and needlessly derailed by the immoral legislation and subsequent fallout of Cannabis Prohibition. President Obama is lucky, he can take a walk down memory lane and reminisce about his youthful experimentation with plants. Alternately, millions of Americans who were (and continue to be) unfortunate enough to be charged and convicted of illicit drug possession are not so lucky, and carry a criminal record around with them like a Scarlett Letter for the rest of their lives.

While I wasn't "Born in the USA", my maternal Great-Grandfather was from Buffalo N.Y. by way of Ireland so there's a l'il bit of red, white and blue in me. I may not get to vote in an American election, but I can wholly understand why Americans feel especially betrayed by President Obama after the 2009 Election and may redirect their support this Autumn because of his flip-flopping regarding Cannabis. Many Americans believed that because President Obama publicly admitted to using Cannabis as well as Cocaine and openly stated that he recognized the Drug War to be a complete and utter failure that they were finally going to have a POTUS who would end the insane War on Drugs.

Instead what they've got is not only no end to the Drug War in sight, but a Federal crackdown on Medical Marijuana in States that have legalized its use and yet another increase of Federal (read: Taxpayer) funds to continue the insane War On People Who Use Some Drugs.

How deceitfully disappointing.

From the Marijuana Policy Project: President Obama: An Unexpected Enemy on Marijuana

Adam vs. The Man on RT - Mary Jane Outs Obama

More Links:

John Stossel's TAKE: Feds Announce Obama Flip-Flop

Obama Is Asked To Defend His Administration’s Opposition To Medical Cannabis — He Can’t
Why is the Obama Administration Suddenly Fixated on Stomping out Medical Pot?

*Note: The original post from "GoVaporize" is no longer online so we unfortunately cannot read the Comments that accompanied it. Thankfully I found the article reposted here.
~MJ, 2/26/12

Another UPDATE!!! May 24/2012
Penn's Sunday School - He says what millions of us are thinking!  Preach on! 
There's (in my view) appropriate cursing so take note this may be NSFW.

Penn Jillette and Michael Goudeau talk about
President Barack Obama's
appearance on Jimmy Fallon and his previous drug use.

Jimmy Fallon interview with President Obama

And it just keeps on coming! Update May 25, 2012

My, my, Barry really was quite the Cannabis Connoisseur.  From Buzzfeed Politics:

A User's Guide To Smoking Pot With Barack Obama

"Barry was quite the accomplished marijuana enthusiast back in high school and college. Excerpts from David Maraniss' Barack Obama: The Story dealing with the elaborate drug culture surrounding the president when he attended Punahou School in Honolulu and Occidental College in Los Angeles. He inhaled. A lot.

"When a joint was making the rounds, he often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted "Intercepted!," and took an extra hit. No one seemed to mind."

Seriously, go read the whole thing.  Americans should be even more disgusted - here's a man who obviously really loved pot but has no problem continuing this insane war that is imprisoning people for an activity he certainly enjoyed.

Looking for TRUE change?  Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Judge James P. Gray has announced his candidacy for Vice President, running with Libertarian Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico.  These two aren't pulling any punches!
Gary Johnson Picks Judge Jim Gray for Libertarian Party Ticket

No comments:

Post a Comment

High! Thanks for taking the time to leave a Comment. :)