Drug Policy

‘That Is Not a Drug. It’s a Leaf.’

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California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has raised eyebrows by telling an interviewer for the British edition of GQ that marijuana "is not a drug." Aaron McLear, Schwarzenegger's press secretary, says he was only kidding:

The governor was doing an interview with the host of America's Got Talent, the newest version of The Gong Show. I think it's important to keep that quote in the context of the environment where it was said.

Of course the governor understands marijuana is a drug. It's like when he goes on Leno or The Daily Show, if you took something like that out of context, it might seem shocking but it was in a silly entertainment context.

To be more precise, the context was Schwarzenegger's own past drug use. He initially said he'd never used drugs. When reminded that he'd admitted smoking pot, that in fact he's shown doing so in the 1977 documentary Pumping Iron, he said, "That is not a drug. It's a leaf." McLear is right that it was a joke, but that's sort of the point: On the subject of pot smoking, politicians like Schwarzenegger (and Bill Clinton and Al Gore and Newt Gingrich) want to have it both ways. On the one hand, it's no big deal, something you can wink at and laugh about. On the other hand, it justifies some 830,000 arrests a year. Which is it?

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders regrets that Schwarzenegger did not use this opportunity to join San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in questioning the war on drugs.

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25 responses to “‘That Is Not a Drug. It’s a Leaf.’

  1. He only smoked the leaves? I wonder if he knows what he was missing?

  2. And yet locals regularly refer to Saunders as the Ann Coulter of SF. Sigh.

  3. “It’s a leaf.” That line reminds me of the pro-marijuana children’s book title It’s Just a Plant.

  4. Cocaine’s a helluva leaf!

  5. Hmmm… serious question. He could have his citizenship revoked. He became a citizen in 1983 and the film of him smoking a joint (a crime) was in 1970s. The citizenship questionaire today, and maybe then, asks if one has committed a crime for which one was not arrested. Chances are he may have given a false answer because a true one might have denied him citizenship at that time. Further if he is now admitting more than one incident, even if he was given a break for the movie….? Today, permanent residents are being deported for one incident like that 30 years ago.

    Giving a false answer is grounds for removing citizenship. The reason immigrant Nazis have citizenship revoked is not because they were a Nazi but because they falsely denied it on their applications for citizenship.

    Hmmmm……

  6. ‘That Is Not a Drug. It’s a Leaf’

    No it isn’t, its an herb.

    And the way Schwarzzengroper spends tax money you’d think he’d mistaken greenbacks for leaves.

    mch, his defense is that the joint was fake. Be tough to prove it wasn’t.

  7. It’s Just a Plant

    That’s what daddy said when he taught me to roll my own. He even bought me the book.

  8. The questions I’d like to ask admitted ex-drug users running for office are –

    “Would you be better off if you had been arrested and prosecuted for your drug use?”

    Follow up question, “Would society have been better off if you had been arrested and prosecuted for your drug use”.

    One more question, “Senator, Governor or whatever, Do you support the War on Drugsand why?”

  9. Marijuana is the devil! It will make you into a raving lunatic heroin addict! Or so sayeth The Cartoon All-Stars circa 1990. Lord knows they saved me from trying the devil weed later in life. Or maybe not.

  10. The Cartoon All-Stars circa 1990.

    Smurfs? Damn you Cesar. Damn you and your descendants for all ETERNITY!. DIE, YOU EVIL BASTARD! YOU DIE AND GO TO HELL!!!

    BTW, I don’t like the smurfs very much.

  11. Clinton I — Blowjobs aren’t sex.

    Arnold — Dope isn’t a drug.

    Giuliani — Authoritarianism is freedom.

    Quick, what is the common denominator between these three people?

  12. Quick, what is the common denominator between these three people?

    You mean other than they are all cocksucking, lying, pieces of pond scum?

    Or that they are all dissemblers?

  13. It’s like when he goes on Leno…

    Didn’t he launch his political career on Leno?

  14. BTW, prolefeed, have you heard from my legal team, yet?

  15. It’s something to wink and laugh about if you are not one of my neighbors in the ‘hood here.
    (Well, actually it’s something to wink and nod about here too, but for different reasons. Down here, it’s a “living.”)

  16. mch makes an interesting point; where’s the “Kitty Bar The Borders” crowd on this one?

    Oh right, he’s white and Christian…never mind…

  17. …and he has an “R” next to his name. Can’t slam a fellow traveler…

  18. …and he has an “R” next to his name.

    But it IS a funny sounding name…

  19. And yet locals regularly refer to Saunders as the Ann Coulter of SF. Sigh.

    I think that tells you more about the people of San Francisco than it does about Saunders.

  20. That’s not Arnold in the picture.

  21. The questions I’d like to ask admitted ex-drug users running for office are –

    “Would you be better off if you had been arrested and prosecuted for your drug use?”

    Follow up question, “Would society have been better off if you had been arrested and prosecuted for your drug use”.

    One more question, “Senator, Governor or whatever, Do you support the War on Drugsand why?”

    I don’t see this as a problem for any candidate. Their reason for running is that they belong in office and someone else doesn’t. Therefore they could honestly answer that it would be best if all other candidates were prevented from running and themselves not. Seriously, that’s the point, “I’m the best. Whatever helps me get in is good for you. If it helps someone else get in, it’s bad for you.” Are there any candidates that don’t say that or its equivalent? And if they don’t say that, how can anyone vote for them in good conscience?

  22. And yet locals regularly refer to Saunders as the Ann Coulter of SF. Sigh.

    Either she’s changed her tune considerably since I lived in SF ten years ago (I seem to remember her being quite conservative), or I have.

  23. Prole, why do you hate boomers?

  24. Arnold is a marijuana girly- man…

  25. It may not be Arnold in the picture, but it sure as hell is him in Pumping Iron!!. I have the video.

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