Read time: 1 minute

Chris Hayes Recounts Near Arrest For Marijuana

MSNBC's Chris Hayes recalls his own brush with the law for possession of marijuana.

MSNBC host Chris Hayes responded Friday to New York Times columnist David Brooks' op-ed piece on why he doesn't smoke pot anymore, and gave a powerful account of how race and luck helped him escape arrest at a huge political event.

Hayes attended the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, and ran into a little bit of trouble at the security check-in. He unintentionally had a bag of weed in his luggage, and although he was caught by police, he wasn't arrested and even had his weed returned to him.

Hayes said that perhaps the cops thought he was a senator's son; an incident with "a whole bunch of headaches" that they "didn't need" on a night with greater security concerns.

"I can tell you as sure as I am sitting here before you that if I was a black kid with cornrows instead of a white kid with glasses, my ass would've been in a squad car faster than you can say George W. Bush," Hayes said emphatically.

The Brooks' op-ed surmised that the legalization of weed in Colorado was "nurturing a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be." Hayes countered that argument, saying that "The one kind of person most people don't want to be is a person caught in the criminal justice system."

An ACLU report, "The War On Marijuana In Black And White," shows that even though blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates, black people are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for possession, adding clout to Hayes' belief that if he hadn't been a white kid with glasses, he would have left the 2000 RNC in a squad car. And he surely wouldn't have gotten his weed back.

We Need Your Help Now More Than Ever

For 17 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook and social media are drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or subscribe for an ad-free experience.

More C&L Coverage


New Commenting System

Our comments are now powered by Insticator. In order to comment you will need to create an Insticator account. The process is quick and simple. Please note that the ability to comment with a C&L site account is no longer available.

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.

Please Do Not Use the Login Link at the Top of the Site.

In order to comment you must use an Insticator account. To register an account, enter your comment and click the post button. A dialog will then appear allowing you create your account.

We will be retiring our Crooks and Liars user account system in January, 2021.

Thank you.
C&L Team