CANNABIS CULTURE – The Obama campaign has released a Web campaign ad featuring the President calling a supporter asking for their help.
The callee turns out to be Kal Penn, who plays the pothead Kumar in the Harold and Kumar movies, and was the associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. Penn will be hosting Thursday’s online convention from North Carolina.
The ad shows Harold (John Cho) and Kumar sitting around watching TV and eating pizza like stereotypical stoners, even though both Cho and Penn told High Times in 2008 that they don’t smoke.
The fact that the man making the phone call is also a former pot smoker whose policies don’t follow the promises he made towards medical marijuana in his last campaign is an irony not lost on the activist community.
In response, reformers have released an ad called, “What if President Obama had called a real marijuana user?” It starts with the same footage of Obama making a phone call, this time to a surprised young man who says, “I didn’t think you’d call after you dismissed or mocked all the questions about marijuana that were submitted on WhiteHouse.gov, Reddit and YouTube, even though all those questions were rated higher than anything else.”
When Obama says he’s counting on his callee, the man says, “You’re counting on marijuana users to fall for a lame political video designed to exploit us while your administration simultaneously support arresting us and raiding our homes?” When Obama mentions trust, he says, “You mean like how we trusted you when you promised in the last campaign that you’d leave medical marijuana alone in the states where it’s legal? But in the last four years under your presidency, we’ve seen more dispensaries raided than in eight years under President Bush.”
Poignantly and pointedly, the marijuana user in the reformer’s ad points out, “The WOD is a major factor in what the NAACP calls ‘The New Jim Crow.’ Nearly one out of three African-American males are in jail at one point in their lives because of the racial disparity in the WOD.” Lucky for Obama, he wasn’t one of them.
The reformer adds, “Aren’t there two political candidates who support legalizing marijuana and shifting law enforcement resources to real crime?” Libertarian party candidate and legalization supporter Gov. Gary Johnson is at the Democratic convention, along with NORML’s Greta Gaines, making that point.
Arianna Huffington’s Shadow Convention 2012 has done two strong segments on the WOD, and The Huffington Post is featuring articles by Richard Branson and others on the topic. Steph Sherer of ASA wonders whether Johnson, who has chosen California reformer Judge Jim Gray as his running mate, will be Obama’s Ralph Nader this election. Peace and Freedom party presidential candidate Roseanne Barr and the Green Party’s nominee Jill Stein, M.D. are also for legalization. Stein spoke at Seattle Hempfest, as did Judge Gray.
“Did you say you’re looking for Kumar?” the man says in the end of the reformer’s ad. “He was arrested like the other 850,000 people who were arrested last year under your administration’s policies. Maybe you can find him a house or a job when he gets out. Finding those things can be really hard when you’re burdened with a drug conviction.”
The campaign asks all to Tweet the following: @barackobama @kalpenn @johnthecho It takes more than lame jokes to earn votes. It takes action. Change the marijuana laws. #EarnMyVote