The Norman Transcript

Columns

January 25, 2014

Pot talk is breath of fresh air

(Continued)

NORMAN —

After youthful marijuana use felled a U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Douglas Ginsburg, in the late 1980s, it became a litmus-test question even in local politics. I remember a King County, Wash., executive candidate, Bruce Hilyer, who later became a Superior Court judge, fumbling the question at a televised debate and staring flummoxed into the cameras. (He eventually admitted to smoking pot when he was younger, and went on to win the primary but lost the general election.)

Well now we have the president of the United States saying it probably should have been treated the same as, say, drinking vodka. So the anti-pot criminal crusade was a decades-long governmental mistake. Sorry about that!

Some critics are bashing Obama for encouraging nationwide dope smoking, but he was actually pretty negative about it, calling it “a waste of time and not very healthy.”

He also pointed out, correctly I think, that “the experiment taking place in Colorado and Washington is going to be a challenge.” Will pot use here rise? Maybe. Will there be more drug addiction or abuse? Will it spark a drive to legalize harder drugs? Obama raised the specter of that.

But for my entire life honest talk about the drug issue has seemed impossible, because of the hectoring, shaming stance of the government and hypocrisy of the lawmakers (remember “I didn’t inhale”?). It really is a big change now just to hear a different tone.

Danny Westneat is a columnist for The Seattle Times. Readers may send him email at dwestneat@seattletimes.com.

Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Congress must accelerate solutions

    Congress has roused itself, at the last minute, and now is scrambling to save the Highway Trust Fund. Better late than never. Better still will be if lawmakers agree to come up with the money to prevent the fund from becoming insolvent. ...

    July 20, 2014

  • The heavy burden of college aid

    Return on investment is a clear measure of what you get for your money. Incredibly, the federal government doesn’t apply that simple concept to the $137 billion a year it spends on college financial aid....

    July 19, 2014

  • James bears weight of Cav’s dreams

    LeBron James has done it all on a basketball court. He’s a great scorer, rugged defender, proven big-play leader and champion. But that might not be enough in Cleveland, where he’ll also need the powers of Merlin the Magician....

    July 17, 2014

  • Steve Boaz.jpg Breathing Rhythm Studio a center for creativity

    Recording engineer Steve Boaz has brought his musical ambitions to fulfillment in a downtown Norman studio.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Matt Lauer is so last century

    How about we rename “The Today Show” the “Yesterday Show” since host Matt Lauer asks questions from 1953? Isn’t what Lauer asked GM CEO Mary Barra about whether she’ll do “well” at being simultaneously an executive and a mom about, oh, 30 ...

    July 14, 2014

  • Religion’s role shrinking

    Surveying the response to last month’s Hobby Lobby decision, I was struck by a comment from progressive Massachusetts senator and possible Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren....

    July 12, 2014