The ink-and-eyeball-grabbing revelation from David Maraniss's forthcoming bio of President Barack Obama is that the embattled incumbent was a big-time pot smoker back in the day:
Maraniss notes that Obama spent a lot of time at the Punahou School in Hawaii with a "self-selected group of boys who loved basketball and good times and called themselves the Choom Gang. Choom is a verb, meaning "to smoke marijuana."
"As a member of the Choom Gang," Maraniss writes, "Barry Obama was known for starting a few pot-smoking trends."
One of those was: "Total Absorption" or "TA".
"TA was the opposite of Bill Clinton's claim that as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford he smoked dope but never inhaled," explains Maraniss. If you exhaled prematurely when you were with the Choom Gang, "you were assessed a penalty and your turn was skipped the next time the joint came around."…
Of course, Obama has copped to his pot and drug use in his own best-selling memoir, but I'm sure that he's freaking out that this sort of revelation is going to bite him on the ass during what's shaping up to be a tough re-election cycle. That Colorado and Washington state have popular pot legalization initiatives on the ballot has got to be worrisome to a drug war commander-in-chief who has fully reneged on campaign promises to rethink prohibition and in-office pledges to end raids on dispensaries that are legal under state law. That's a move that has "disappointed" his own party—and made the rest of us rightly angry and ranty.
And if his copious pot smoking isn't bad enough on its own, there's the detail that Obama made a habit of bogarting his friends' pot:
Maraniss also says Obama was known for his "Interceptions": "When a joint was making the rounds, he often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted 'Intercepted!,' and took an extra hit."
So if he's not pissing off conservatives for having smoked pot, he'll be annoying stoners who know a glad-hander when they see one. More in that vein.
If recent accounts of increasing raids on legal-under-state-law medical marijuana dispensaries are any indication, expect the Obama administration's Justice Department, headed by also-embattled Attorney General Eric Holder, to start cracking more heads and display counters out in the Golden State. On Thursday, Holder defended Obama's record-breaking raids thus:
Nevertheless, those involved in large-scale marijuana growing and distribution have "come up with ways in which they are taking advantage of these state laws and going beyond that which the states have authorized," Holder said in response to questions from Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. "Those are the only cases that we have been going after."
In an article oddly headlined "Feds in LA target more illegal pot stores," the Sacramento Bee explains that "nearly three dozen warning letters were…sent to pot dispensaries" telling them to close up shop or face legal actions. (The headline is odd given that the legal status of the stores is precisely what's at issue.)
That's classic political hypocrisy: When your going gets tough, make life hell for the very people you said you were going to stick up for.
Last fall, ReasonTV told the story of law-abiding California dispensary operators vs. the feds.