CANNABIS CULTURE – Pot-puffing Comedian Bill Maher made an hilarious appearance on the (nearly always unfunny) Jay Leno show and, while discussing California’s legalization efforts, told the Tonght Show host he was a “buzzkill”.
Jay Leno: “Here’s my thing on the issue. I’ve nothing against legalizing it; I hate when they say it’s a way to raise revenue for the State.”
Bill Maher: “Why?”
Leno: “Because it’s not a real…you know, if you want to raise revenue, build something, make something you can sell to China, make a product. It’s like ancient Rome, it’s like bread and circuses, it’s liquor, it’s gambling, it’s all sin tax.”
Maher: “Oh, shut up Grandpa. Just let us have this one moment. This is the biggest legislative breakthrough we’ve had in 30 years.”
Leno also offered his insights into why California’s efforts to legalize pot are waste of time:
Leno: “California, they spend all this money trying to get things on ballots. But federal law trumps state law.”
Maher: “Oh, Jay you’re such a buzzkill.”
Leno: “Well, it’s true. No matter what the state says, the federal government goes ‘sorry, it’s a federal law. You lose.'”
Maher: “But look at the big picture Jay. Finally this issue is not a third rail in politics anymore.”
As Scott Morgan at StoptheDrugWar.org asks, hasn’t Jay seen the hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries popping up every few blocks in California?
Jay also touched on an interesting point (even if he got most of the facts wrong):
Leno: “I say decriminalize it. Anybody that wants marijuana in California can get it. But once you bring in Philip Morris, once it become a business, and advertising and all that nonsense starts […] If you want to grow it in your backyard and you want to smoke it, you get it from your friend, that’s fine. I just don’t want to see it in stores and don’t want to see the guy, ‘This is the best high you’ll ever have.’ [mimicing a TV advertisement]
Jay points to a legitimate concern many people have about the possible takeover of the marijuana industry by large commercial enterprises like tobacco companies, who have a taste for profits and a history of poisoning customers and attempting to hide the evidence.
This concerns me too, but I agree with Ganja Guru Ed Rosenthal, who thinks California will experience what he calls the “Tomato Model” of marijuana legalization, where commercial, home and specialty cultivators can thrive side-by-side, much like the American tomato industry. According to Rosenthal, more tomatoes are grown in America by home gardeners than are produced commercially, and there is a robust market for large- and small-scale producers of all types.
I chuckled loudly at Maher’s “Grandpa” quote, which was a double-edged dig at Leno and his aging Tonight Show audience. It is well known that Leno appeals to an older crowd, as evidenced by the recent late-night Night of the Long Knives that saw former Tonight Show host Conan O’Brien and his whole staff purged from NBC to give Leno back his 11:30 time slot. It turns out an energetic Irish-American with hair like an orange tsunami didn’t appeal to the ol’ folks.