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    • Stephen Cooper

      Columnist
    • June 20, 2016 in Columnists

    Mitt’s ‘mom jeans’ causing marijuana melodrama?

    Mitt’s “mom jeans” — as they were dubbed by CNN’s Chris Matthews and the L.A. Times’ David Horsey (“Mitt Romney, the man in mom jeans“) — must be riding up uncomfortably high these days.

    Either that or Donald Trump is literally driving the failed Republican presidential candidate batty — nothing else can explain Romney’s dingbat statement on the alleged perils of marijuana use last week.

    Pontificating in “The Situation Room” to Wolf Blitzer on whether he would consider voting for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, CNN.com reported that Romney indicated he “would consider voting for Johnson, but had reservations given his stance on marijuana.” (“Gary Johnson: Marijuana doesn’t make you stupid,” June 17).

    Specifically, Mitt told a skeptical looking Wolf: “I think the legalization of marijuana on a recreational basis and the legalization of drugs would be highly destructive to our coming generations and the work ethic of this country.”

    Mitt added: “Marijuana makes people stupid.”

    Last year, Doug McIntyre a columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News spouted similar malarkey (“Pot use reaches a new high and low,” Oct. 23, 2015) claiming habitual pot smokers “can’t have very challenging jobs.” McIntyre’s assessment was based on the same amount of uncontested verifiable scientific evidence Romney used to support his misinformed claims — none.

    McIntyre’s proof of marijuana’s ills: “I’ve smoked enough pot to know I have no business doing anything other than playing my music too loud and trying to find the half bag of peanut M&M’s I stashed from last year’s Halloween haul.”

    Incensed at McIntyre’s myopic and stereotypical misinformation, I responded in a letter the Los Angeles Daily News published on Nov. 4, 2015, titled, “History suggests some potheads are pretty smart.” (Scroll down to the second letter once you click the link.)

    In my letter, which I sure hope someone (anyone) reads to Romney and asks him pointed questions about, I wrote: Actually, plenty of pot-smokers through history have had challenging jobs.

    To name just a few: Rush Limbaugh (“I wouldn’t have been able to make it through hundreds of shows if it weren’t for the benefits of medical marijuana.”), Ted Turner, Maya Angelou, Morgan Freeman, Montel Williams, Andrew Sullivan, Carl Sagan (“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”). Also, as reported by Time magazine, add William Shakespeare (researchers found clay pipes with traces of weed in his garden in Stratford-on-Avon dated to the 17th century) and President John Adams (“We shall, by and by, want a world of hemp more for our own consumption.”).

    Now, I’ll grant trotting Rush Limbaugh out as my lead example is risky but I respectfully submit that Rush is not a stupid man — his ideas (his radio show, and his rants) are what’s stupid about him. Moreover, it would take something far more potent and toxic than weed has ever been proven to be to explain Limbaugh.

    As for Romney, one gets the sense that if he’d smoked just a bit more cannabis like Barack in his youth and if he’d continued to responsibly smoke it through adulthood, he might have, “mom jeans” aside, been president.

    About the Author: Stephen Cooper is a former federal and D.C. public defender. He has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers in the United States and overseas. He writes full-time and lives in Woodland Hills, California.



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