Meet the Press Panelists Can't Stop Laughing About Marijuana Prohibition



New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus produced two of the year's most embarrassing commentaries on marijuana legalization, so naturally they were invited to discuss that issue on Meet the Press yesterday. They did not disappoint.

The most annoying thing about the segment is the jokey tone that Brooks establishes as soon as host David Gregory asks him about the recent New York Times editorial calling for the repeal of marijuana prohibition at the federal level:

Brooks: I disagree with them on the larger issue. I don't know what they've been smoking up there in the office. The haze is…

At this point Brooks is interrupted by uproarious laughter from Gregory and the other panelists, who apparently have never heard this ancient joke before. Despite that disadvantage, they understand Brooks' point: The position taken by his colleagues at the Times is so absurd that they must have been high when they wrote the editorial! Just like everyone who opposed alcohol prohibition must have been drunk! Trying to join in the mirth making, PBS NewHour anchor Judy Woodruff chimes in with, "They didn't inhale." Then, having finally understood the gravamen of Brooks' jest, she adds, "Maybe they did."

Perhaps we should cut Woodruff some slack, since she later confesses, "When I think of grass, I think of something to walk on. I think of pot as something you put a plant in." This provokes more merriment. It also raises the question: Exactly how old is Judy Woodruff? According to Wikipedia, she was born in 1946, which means she graduated college in the late 1960s. Hmm.

And the jokes keep coming:

Marcus: It is a vast social experiment. We do not know the outcome, except that the best evidence is that if you use marijuana as a teenager regularly, eight IQ points…and I don't know about the rest of the table, but I don't have eight to lose.

I believe her. But wait, there's more:

Woodruff: I think it's important to have the debate, but I wonder what's the rush.

Marcus: Pardon the pun.

I don't think I will. Yet when the panelists turn serious, their contributions are even lamer. Both Brooks and Marcus, while agreeing with those crazy potheads at the Times that states should be free to set their own marijuana policies, argue that legalization is a mistake…because of the children:

Brooks: I just don't think we can sanction—say for adults, fine, but if you're 18, you can't do it. That's just not gonna work, I don't think….

Marcus: I think for states to decide to go the full legalization route is a problem, precisely for my mommy reason, that you can say it's OK for adults, but everybody knows who has teenagers like me that…the fact that alcohol is legal increases their access to alcohol. Making marijuana readily, legally available will increase their—my kids are at home, laughing at me.

Maybe they are laughing at her because they see the folly in arguing that anything deemed inappropriate for children should be forbidden to adults as well. In any case, Brooks' concerns extend beyond children:

I don't think the government should be sanctioning activity that most of us mature out of, most of us age out of it. I just don't think it's the way we want to spend our minds….

The country is getting more libertarian on a lot of these issues, and it's "everyone should do what they want." But we're part of a community; we're part of a culture, where we're [affected] by each other's views and each other's values, and to me there's some role for the government playing some role in restraining some individual choice, just to create a culture of healthiness. 

As Mediaite's Evan McMurry points out, the panelists never acknowledge the human cost of forcibly imposing their pharmacological prejudices on their fellow Americans. Although the total has declined from a peak of about 873,000 in 2007, police in the United States still arrest hundreds of thousands of people for marijuana offenses every year (about 750,000 in 2012), the vast majority for simple possession. It's true that most of these people do not spend much time behind bars. But the inconvenience, humiliation, financial drain, and ancillary costs of being treated like a criminal should not be forgotten amid all the marijuana-induced giggles. Nor should the fact that people can and do receive lengthy prison sentences, including life, merely for growing or selling a product that you can openly buy at state-licensed stores in Colorado and Washington. Funny stuff.

[via Mediaite]

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  1. Brooks: I disagree with them on the larger issue. I don’t know what they’ve been smoking up there in the office. The haze is…

    Considering that Brooks is in competition with Friedman for the coveted Award for Worst NYT OP Author of the 21st Century, I’d be careful with those kinds of jokes. HR might find out that Brooks’ hiring was the result of an extremely powerful hallucinogen which led the Times board to think he was ever good at writing.

    1. Doesn’t Brooks get tired of being so consistently and glaringly wrong, or has he had his sense of embarrassment surgically removed?

      1. He thinks about it, then he looks at his payslip and laughs and laughs…

  2. The most annoying thing about the segment is the jokey tone that Brooks establishes

    David Brooks and “Most Annoying” are two phrases that are really meant to be together.

    1. “I now pronounce you man and phrase.”-said with an annoying pronunciation.

  3. According to “Robert” (PhD in something or other sciency?) =

    “Baby Boomers have never been the primary opponents to marijuana legalization”

    David Brooks et al seem to be doing their damndest to prove him wrong.

    The boomers more than anyone sustained the Drug War. Even now, with the trend towards legalization becoming overwhelming, they seem to be uncomfortably weaseling around the topic, making concessions to at least ‘hear’ the issue, but maintain this bullshit “let’s be mature however” posture which seems to think, “Uh, well, children… and uh, driving… and…. well, people shouldnt be able to *see* you doing it….” is the most ‘responsible and sensible attitude’.

    Boomers are the worst. They are screaming hypocritical squishes.

    1. Technically, I’m a Boomer (born 1962). I but I sure don’t agree with any of this shit.

      I wonder what Millenials think of this? Emily Ekins? Emily Ekins to the white courtesy phone, please…

    2. Boomers: are you saying that the krauts and japs should’ve shot off more balls?

    3. If you think of how many boomers were actually “squares” during the 60’s it isn’t hard to see why they oppose any drug legalization.

      They hated the dirty hippies from way back when and have a giant piece of their self identification tied up in not being a druggie. It has to be hard to admit to yourself that you were wrong back then, wrong since then and still wrong now.

    4. an you point to any time when Baby Boomers were more, or even as, opposed to marijuana legaliz’n than their elders?

    5. Probably not something to get hung out about.

      Many public attitudes change because the people holding them get old and die. Inter-racial marriage is a big one.

      The fact that the silents are dying like flies does play a part in the changing public opinion of pot.

  4. Really, all those jokes sound like rejects from lame early 80’s sitcoms.

    1. In fairness, David Brooks looks like a reject from a lame early 80’s sitcom.

      1. …and then there’s Maude, one horrendously gilfy sitcom star of the 70s.

  5. You know what’s really funny? When someone gets caught selling weed and he has a gun at home, and gets put away for a really long time. And you know what else is hilarious? When he gets raped in jail! Oh man, rape in jail! What a knee-slapper!

    Fuck David Brooks.

    1. Oh man, rape in jail! What a knee-slapper!

  6. That segment was horrifying, and that’s saying a lot for MTP.

  7. Man, locking people up and ruining their lives is some fuuunny shit…

    cue Penn Jillette

  8. We do not know the outcome



    we’re part of a community; we’re part of a culture, where we’re [affected] by each other’s views and each other’s values, and to me there’s some role for the government playing some role in restraining some individual choice, just to create a culture of healthiness.


    1. So Brooks is only OK with his views affecting other people, in the form of prison sentences and violent crime due to the WOD.


      That might have to become another H&R meme, similar to TOP. MEN.

  10. “I just don’t think we can sanction?say for adults, fine, but if you’re 18, you can’t do it.”

    I’m confused about the various ages where you are considered an adult. 14-16 is adult enough to drive, 18 to smoke and be drafted, 21 to drink, how adult do I need to be to have an opinion on legalization?

    1. It’s almost like it’s completely arbitrary. Who knew?

  11. A Reason article complaining about a jokey tone and lame jokes? The projection is stunning.

    1. This is serious central. I have no fucking idea what you’re talking about. Who was complaining?

      1. Who was complaining?


        The most annoying thing about the segment is the jokey tone that Brooks establishes

        At this point Brooks is interrupted by uproarious laughter from Gregory and the other panelists, who apparently have never heard this ancient joke before.

  12. Because throwing people in jail for most of their adult lives for committing absolutely no harm to anyone is just so freakin hilarious.

  13. “Ha ha ha! Ruining people’s lives over an arbitrarily proscribed plant that I my self, the last three presidents, and countless other highly (snicker) successfull people have used without consequence is HILARIOUS! HA HA HA! Suck it proles!” – David Brooks

    May you burn in hell, David Brooks, you obnoxious piece of shit.

  14. I don’t know what they’ve been smoking up there in the office. The haze is

    Well they did hire Brooks, Friedman and Krugman and have written a bunch of stupid editorials before so…?

  15. Ugh, I hate Statists.

  16. The tone of those pompous asses, sitting on high as if we really need a pair of pseudo-intellectual, imagination free “thought leaders” to manage society for us. Piss off, thank you.

    I was born in the 70s to square parents, though my pops does have a Coors Light habit I am trying to get an intervention for (dear gawd dad, at least drink an all grain beer). I was a Republican for awhile but came around on the real war, culture war, and drug war. We can stop being stupid about this anytime….please.

  17. To sound serious they have to make those jokes. The subject of pot is giggle-producing. So would discussing sex be in the same setting. Everyone’s embarrassed to have normal thoughts, so they affect derision. They’re like the recently toilet-trained talking about sissy & duty.

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