“Junkie. Pothead. That’s where I’d been headed; the final fatal role of the would-be black man…” – Barack Obama
In the previous post, Retrofitting a Legacy, examples were given of outgoing President Obama’s attempts to appeal to millennials. The White House is targeting millenials through memes and media outlets such as Vice to deliver the message of a ‘cool’ presidency that was. A presidency that saw an actual fulfillment of the ‘hope and change’ that was promised to the hazy, dewy-eyed faces of millennials.
Barack Obama smoked weed into his early adulthood, much like that of millennials today. In fact, according to Pew Research, “Millennials – those ages 18 to 35 in 2016 – are more than twice as likely to support legalization of marijuana as they were in 2006 (71% today, up from 34% in 2006), and are significantly more likely to support legalization than other generations.”President Obama knows this information. As witnessed in the picture above, as well as what was written by his very own, sticky icky fingers, Barry Obama was a giant pothead. Instant credibility with the majority of millennials… he’s just like us!
There’s just one problem, if he’s been president for 8 years, why is marijuana still illegal to smoke in the vast majority of states? How come young adults are still seeing massive incarceration rates for non-violent drug offenses? Wouldn’t this president, one who has long indulged in the exact same recreation, yearn for the day when he could finally do something about it? At least, if for nothing else, he’d want to evade the glaringly massive hypocrisy of partaking in an illegal activity for years and then forbiding others from doing the same. An activity so illegal, that, had he been arrested for it, it would have hindered him from becoming president in the first place. Surely, this president would do anything in his power to change this law…
In a recent Rolling Stone article from Nov. 29, 2016, President Barack Obama said the following when asked about legalizing marijuana, “But I do believe that treating this as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol, is the much smarter way to deal with it. Typically how these classifications are changed are not done by presidential edict but are done either legislatively or through the DEA.”
Ok, Obama definitely just passed the buck off to the DEA or congress. So, if only they can reclassify marijuana away from it’s current Schedule I Controlled Substances Act classification, then who appoints the chief of the DEA? The president does. If Barack Obama desired that marijuana be reclassified, he could have selected someone who shares his views to head the DEA. But he didn’t. Better still, Obama consciously chose against it.
Even though he decided not to pursue marjiuana classification, can we really hold Obama solely accountable for all the non-violent drug offenders’ sentences being carried out during his presidency? Yes, actually we can.
During his 2012 presidential run, then Congressman, Ron Paul, weighed in on how, constitutionally, as president, he would handle this very situation. Adam Kokesh of RT asked, “So are you saying that you would pardon all non-violent [drug] offenders?” Ron Paul responded, “If somebody is in prison, for non-violence drug uses, never committed a hard crime, yes. They should be pardoned, and they should be let out.”
President Barack Obama has this very power right now. But instead of delivering Americans, in particular the youth, a solid appointment of someone empathetic to the legalization of marijuana, and unshackeling millions of downtroddened Americans through a presidential pardon, Obama has remained cowardice and done neither.
But don’t be disillusioned, he won’t remain silent on the issue. We will continue to see retrofitting strategies, much like the excuses in the Rolling Stone article, implemented on millennials to view these failures as ‘simply insurmountable obstacles’ that are out of the scoop of president, and his cowardice and hypocrisy will be framed as an ever-championing, step-by-step progression towards justice.