Bill Maher asked what it's going to take to get our politicians to "evolve" on the issue of marijuana legalization during his New Rules segment on this Friday's Real Time With Bill Maher:
And finally, New Rule: pot is the new gay marriage. And by that, I mean it's the next obvious civil rights issue that needs to fall.
Now, if I asked you, what has been the biggest change in American society over the past 20 years, what would you say? Instagram? Coconut water? Crocs? All important, but no. It's that a generation ago, the closest thing to gay marriage was Liza Minnelli and David Gest.
In 1988, only 10% of Americans approved of gay marriage. Today, that figure's almost 60%. So what happened? What made gay marriage so normal, so quickly? Now, sure, part of it was Dancing With the Stars. But mostly, it was because gays simply demanded it. They didn't care that gay marriage wasn't popular, they put it on the agenda, and they made it popular. The same way they made every woman in America want to wear giant bug-eyed sunglasses.
Now the Democrats, believe it or not, have that kind of power too. They just don't use it, because Democrats operate from a place of fear: unwilling to appear soft on crime, soft on terror — or in Anthony Weiner's case, soft on camera.
On gay marriage, they even use their own children as political cover to explain how they "evolved" on the issue. They say, my kids have gay friends, and when they come over for dinner, I've noticed none of them try to fuck me!
Say what you will about Republicans, they don't chase poll numbers; they move them. Like gays.
If Republicans were smart, they would steal marijuana from the Democrats as a freedom issue. Of course, they’re not smart, so they won’t. Because they’re squares living in a Reefer Madness cartoon. A cartoon where millions of Americans are trapped in a no man’s land where a pot dispensary can sell you weed if you have a “card” from a “doctor” certifies that you have a “disease,” which is just don’t ask, don’t tell for pot smokers. And it creates a culture of dishonesty that gives a bad name to people like me who genuinely suffer from whatever I told them I have.
But this isn’t about me. It’s about the three quarters of a million people who arrested for simple possession every year. And the fact that blacks are arrested at a rate of seven times the rate of whites, which is a subtle way to suppress the black vote, because 48 states limit voting rights for convicted felons. Only two states do not. Maine and Vermont, and Maine’s black population consists of a bear.
Look. We all put something in our mouth that we’re not always proud of, but that makes us happy. Gay barriers fell when Americans realized gays were their neighbors, their friends, their family members, their co-workers. Certainly, that must also be true of potheads. We all know at least one.
In fact, I bet there is one pothead that you all know. Oh, not any more, but here he is back in high school with his stoner posse, the Choom Gang posing with a cake that I’m guessing didn’t last long. And it makes me curious why he “evolved” so much on gay marriage, but has actually escalated the war on pot. At the Correspondents’ dinner he joked, “I remember when Buzzfeed was something that I did in college around 2 AM,” which killed in the room, but perhaps not so funny to all the young lives ruined for doing the same thing he did back in Honolulu.
A simple pot conviction can foreclose on opportunities to vote, get a job, go to college, or qualify for housing. How can our first black president, and our first pothead president be aware of that, and just look the other way? If anyone can say smoking pot won’t ruin your life, it’s the guy who smoked bales of it, and then became leader of the free world.