By his own admission, President Barack Obama was a frequent user of marijuana in his youth and cocaine when he could afford it. Obama admitted to illegal drug use in a memoir published prior to his entry to politics so his frankness it not necessarily due to his character and honesty as a politician. More likely than not candidate Obama would have never volunteered any information about past drug use. But because it was established record, Obama openly discussed his drug use and did not seek to claim, akin to Clinton, that he did not inhale or offer some other mannerism to downplay his past use (many people mocked Clinton for that statement, although Christopher Hitchens’ new memoir writes that Clinton, who was an Oxford classmate of Hitchens, was allergic to smoke so Clinton may have been telling the truth).
Obama was so enamored with marijuana, in fact, that his 1979 high school Yearbook features a photo of him in front of a pack of rolling papers with a shout-out to the “Choom gang”. “Chooming”, in case you did not know, is Hawaiian slang for smoking marijuana.
One would expect that as president Obama would be more understanding toward young drug users. After all he was one. How could Obama possibly justify arresting and harshly prosecuting innocent and youthful marijuana users considering that he did the same thing at their age? But Obama is doing just that. This administration is embarking on one of the most well-funded anti-drug enforcement campaigns in recent years:
Yet, in his new National Drug Control Strategy, Obama “firmly opposes the legalization of marijuana or any other illicit drug” and boasts of his administration’s aggressive approach to pot eradication. Watch your back, Choom Gang.
Two days after the “new” strategy’s release, the Associated Press published a comprehensive analysis of our 40-year drug war, using data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests.
Since 1970, we’ve spent a trillion dollars trying to improve Americans’ character by preventing them from ingesting federally disapproved substances. Nearly $450 billion went toward locking up 37 million nonviolent offenders, 10 million for marijuana possession.
Obama has won praise from liberal pundits by paying lip service to drug-war de-escalation, but as the AP report shows, he has devoted more resources to enforcement than any other president.
“We’re not at war with people in this country,” the president’s drug czar insists, so we should stop calling it a “war on drugs,” which leads Americans to see it “as a war on them.”
How did they ever get that idea? You can find the answer in a horrifying YouTube video that has garnered more than a million views this month. In it, a ninja-garbed SWAT team breaks into a private home in Columbia, Mo., and shoots the family dog in front of the suspect’s 7-year-old son.
After seizing “a pipe and a small amount of marijuana,” they had the audacity to charge the parents with child endangerment.
Softer rhetoric won’t change the fact that the drug war is a war. Since the 1980s, the feds have subsidized the transfer of military ordnance to local police and Special Forces training of SWAT teams. That has led to a dangerous warrior ethos among civilian peacekeepers and an appalling body count. Obama has never gone in for Clintonian dodges about his youthful drug use. Inhaling “was the point,” he said in 2007, and in his autobiography, he copped to occasionally snorting “a little blow.”
Like many middle-class kids, the president briefly flirted with drug culture before putting away childish things and becoming a high achiever. (Indeed, looking at what he has achieved since, you sometimes wish pot killed motivation as effectively as drug-war propagandists claim.)
This is blatant hypocrisy. And Obama needs to ask what he would have wanted done when he was using drugs. Would he have wanted the heavy hand of the law impugning his record because he smoked pot in the privacy of his home or would he have just preferred that the government stay the hell out of his private life? I doubt he believes he would be better off is the government ever prosecuted him. As David Boaz of the libertarian Cato Institute put it:
Of course, I probably didn’t help my case by noting that our last three presidents have acknowledged using illegal drugs, and it is just incomprehensible to me how they can morally justify arresting other people for doing the same thing they did. Do they think that they would have been better off if they had been arrested and incarcerated for their youthful drug use? Do they think the country would have been better off if they had been arrested and incarcerated? If not, how do they justify punishing others?
This is all bullshit. I am going to do drugs now just to spite these fat-cat hypocrites in Washington. This is all just nonsense and all, and there is no excuse for Obama’s escalation of the drug war (to maintain the current level is one thing, but to escalate!) and morally bankrupt given his own past par-taying with the pot.