Comedian, writer, political commentator and Ultra-Liberal, Bill Maher, has always been vocal about his position on marijuana legalization. That’s why it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that he wrapped up his most recent legalization rant by sparking a J with rapper Killer Mike.
What IS (kinda) surprising is the backlash Maher received following his little smoke sesh, a $1.7 million dollar fine courtesy of the FCC… yeah, $1.7 MILLION. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler justified this high fine by voicing his concern for the children, “The million dollar fine will deter comedians from being so reckless on television. What if a kid sees the episode and thinks smoking weed is okay?”
Oh yes, what if a kid actually sees a much safer way to get their buzz (or simple relief) on TV as opposed to binge drinking or other hard drug use depicted even on CABLE – let alone paid channels, like HBO, which Real Time with Bill Maher airs. The FCC lets slide shows like Drunk History, any reality TV show and even the Today Show – Which all depict people conducting in unhealthy and unsafe drinking habits. Yet there is no concern there for children’s impressionable constitutions for substance abuse.
The argument that children are being dangerously exposed to substance abuse by seeing someone smoke pot is an old and worn argument at best. Kids are no more likely to pick up a joint, as they are their dad’s beer in the fridge (except the beer is easier to get to). Wheeler’s argument, though, stems from a story by satirical website The Daily Currant as proof that marijuana is dangerous and deadly. The article ‘Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado On First Day of Legalization’ was published shortly after Colorado became legalized and now people like Wheeler are using it as scientific fact for the dangers of weed. So glad Reefer Madness mentalities are alive and well here in 2016.
Bill makes a great point during his rant by addressing the fact that no upper elected government official has out right said “Legalize It!” While Obama has slightly tried he also said marijuana is ‘not very different than cigarettes’ and is ‘no more dangerous than alcohol’… While it can be praised that our own president isn’t spouting typical post-Nixon governmental views on marijuana – he’s still preaching the destructive misinformed notions that we all love to hate. There is too much evidence that marijuana is not only NOTHING like cigarettes or alcohol but it’s also better and more medically beneficial that pretty much 100% of the meds big pharma is filling America’s cabinets with.
Another point, that “weed legalization is going to be like gay marriage” is sadly also very misguided. While the notion that * poof * one day marijuana is going to be nationally legalized overnight, is the absolute dream… it is unfortunately just not realistic. There is simply too much money at stake for big corporations to just roll over and accept legalized marijuana and the industries weed and hemp innovation will replace. The process is going to take a while.
But, until that day we can whole-heartedly applaud the likes of Bill Maher for being on the right side of history. Props to you Bill, good luck with your lawsuit against the FCC and keep fighting the good fight!