He’s played God and the President of the United States. He’s starred in dozens of blockbusters, narrated countless other films and documentaries. And last week, in an interview with Newsweek (released the day before The Dark Knight Rises hit theaters), Morgan Freeman reiterated his support for ending marijuana prohibition.
The whole interview is available here, but the highlight of the interview is his no-nonsense approach to marijuana policy:
You’ve also been a big proponent of the legalization of marijuana.
Marijuana! Heavens, oh yeah. It’s just the stupidest law possible, given history. You don’t stop people from doing what they want to do, so forget about making it unlawful. You’re just making criminals out of people who aren’t engaged in criminal activity. And we’re spending zillions of dollars trying to fight a war we can’t win! We could make zillions, just legalize it and tax it like we do liquor. It’s stupid.
Next week, we’ll be opening voting for the Top 50 Most Influential Marijuana Users, and Morgan Freeman is already on the list of nominees. Do you think the “former president” will join Presidents Obama, Bush, and Clinton on the list?
Also, the great folks working on the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Colorado put out this great graphic on Facebook last week, which is spreading like wildfire. Be sure to check it out and share it with your friends and family!
During his run for the presidency, Barack Obama instilled hope in medical marijuana supporters by pledging to respect state laws on the matter. And for the first two years of his term, he was generally faithful to his promise. Yet suddenly, and with no logical explanation, over the past eight months he has become arguably the worst president in U.S. history regarding medical marijuana.
1. In 1970, Nixon signed into law the Controlled Substances Act, which placed marijuana in Schedule I -- the most restrictive of the five schedules, which declared that marijuana has no medical value whatsoever. Since then, all seven presidents have been content to keep marijuana in Schedule I, even going so far as to have (1) DEA bureaucrats overrule the DEA's own administrative law judge on the matter, and (2) Health & Human Services reject scientific petitions for rescheduling.
Yesterday, George W. Bush began the time-honored tradition of granting pardons to convicted felons in the president’s final days in the White House. 14 pardons and two commuted sentences were announced late last night, and more are expected to be handed down before he leaves office on January 20.
Two former politicians who have been convicted of public corruption charges are looking to the president in hopes that he will shorten their prison sentences. Some pundits are even speculating that he may offer “preemptive” pardons to those involved in the unconstitutional torture of terrorism suspects after 9-11.
I wonder if President Bush has given any thought to pardoning some of the medical marijuana patients and caregivers his administration has helped to prosecute?
One such unfortunate person who comes to mind is Charles C. Lynch of Morro Bay, California.
When Charles opened a city-licensed medical marijuana collective on California’s Central Coast, the community welcomed him with open arms. The city’s mayor even helped cut the ribbon at the chamber of commerce welcoming ceremony. The collective provided a safe and legal supply of medical marijuana to seriously ill patients for nearly a year before federal agents raided the facility and arrested Charles on federal drug charges.
During the ensuing trial, federal prosecutors described Charles as a common drug dealer and blocked any mention of medical marijuana from being brought forth by his defense. As a result, a jury found Charles guilty on five counts of federal drug charges. His sentencing hearing is set for January 5 and he could face up to 100 years in prison for following his heart (and state law) by helping patients to get their medicine.
I can’t think of anyone more deserving of a presidential pardon than Charles C. Lynch and others like him whose only crime was helping to relive suffering.
For more on Charles' plight, check out this Reason.tv video.