Stoners for Obama: Conservatives, Marijuana Activists Blast "Harold and Kumar" Video

kal-penn-obama.jpg
hindustantimes.com
Yeah well, that makes you a fuckin' hypocriticizer too
Be honest: Who would you rather knock back a cold one or pull a few tubes of your favorite Choom with -- Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?

Neither, clearly. The portrayal of George W. Bush as an "Alabama Kush"-puffing commander in chief in Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay is hands-down the most enjoyable POTUS our imagination can muster (not to mention the finest parody of an American president since Dana Carvey's spot-on George Herbert Walker Bush).

Team Obama is still eager to tap whatever cultural zeitgeist the the neo-stoner films channeled. Actor Kal Penn, the film's Kumar, has had an off-again, on-again role at the White House as a "director in the Office of Public Engagement." And he and Harold and Kumar co-star John Cho are in a video released last night to coincide with the opening of the Democratic National Convention, in which the two take a call from President Obama in between mouthfuls of munchies.

A decade-old, played-out cultural reference? Absolutely perfect for politics. And perfect for setting off an Internet firestorm. Both the left and the right are blasting Obama and Penn as hypocrites for appearing stoner-friendly while the federal government ramps up its anti-marijuana policy.



Cannabis advocates and right-wingers alike pounced on the video as emblematic of the Obama campaign's craven hypocrisy. Right-wing Newsbusters.org challenged Penn to ask Obama the same question Kumar asked a stoned W. in the film: "So you get high and then you put other people who smoke weed in jail? That's so hypocritical." And Morgan Fox, executive director of pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project, complained that "the fact Obama uses these characters to joke about this issue while on the other hand continuing to arrest people he's appealing to is really disingenuous."

In terms of the "stoner vote," there is indeed such a thing to court, at least in this cycle. In November, marijuana-legalization measures go to the ballot in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado -- all of which, save the latter, are stone-cold locks for the Democrats. Colorado did go blue in 2008; however, with sizable Latino, military, and small-government contingents, its nine electoral votes are up for grabs. Will the drive to legalize or the prohibitionist backlash push more people to the polls? Right now, it appears the Obama campaign is betting on the stoners -- though how that will help Obama in battleground states like Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania, we're less sure.

As for which party is pot-friendlier? That's hard to say. Under Obama, marijuana plant seizures and closures of medical marijuana dispensaries have hit record highs; this trend has been well-documented on the virtual and print pages of this newspaper. And two of medical marijuana's finest champions in Congress, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, are both members of the GOP.

That said, judging by campaign materials, the only true cannabis-friendly presidential candidates are Green Party nominee Jill Stein and Libertarian Gary Johnson, both of whom have directly called for an end to the War on Drugs. And we seriously doubt Romney -- who told New Hampshire voters in January that he'd fight medical cannabis "tooth and nail" -- would be welcome with the likes of Harold and Kumar if elected president.

Recall the rumor in July that Obama is waiting to be reelected to radically change the country's approach to drugs. Maybe this video is a harbinger of radical change? Or maybe it is what it is: overworked campaign staffs who haven't been to the movies in six years reaching for what's most easily accessible. Warmed-over cultural references, co-opted 20-year-old stadium anthems, and an ancient cultural icon rambling at an empty, swearing chair. That, folks, is politics in America in 2012.

Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly

My Voice Nation Help
3 comments
Brooklyn7
Brooklyn7

October 16th the DEA will proove to the rest of the world just how dangerous and highly addictive the wacky tobaccy is. Dr. Ignore grant doesn't think the that the position of the DEA is tenable. We'll finally have a legal discussion on if this current policy ( emptying the pockets of every civilized economy ) will prevail.

manhattanbound11
manhattanbound11

President Obama needs to step up to the plate and justify this video, which is obviously meant to entice marijuana advocates back to his corner. But his heartless attacks on state-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries have advocates in a blinding fury. 

 

If it is his intention to "surprise" us by finally respecting state MMJ laws, he is good at bluffing, considering all the jobs and state tax revenue he's stealing in his quest to seem hard on drugs. It is also worth noting that each dispensary he crushes (against his 2008 vow to respect state laws) is costing suffering patients access to their doctor-recommended medication. This forces them to seek relief from the criminal marijuana market or to suffer in silence. 

 

Of course, they COULD go back to dangerous and possibly fatal pharmaceuticals which most likely won't help them, since they qualified for medical marijuana in the first place.

 

Yeah... really compassionate, Obama. Nice try.

dougmcvay
dougmcvay

Interesting piece. It's probably worth noting however that as far as "stale cultural references" or staffers not going to the movies in 6 years - According to Boxofficemojo.com, the most recent H&K movie was 2011's A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, it's grossed more than $35 million domestically so far (on a production budget of $19 million), with very little foreign sales so far. On its opening weekend, Nov. 4-6 2011, it was released to 2,875 theaters and was #3 biggest release for that weekend. No offense, but it appears that the one who's not going to the movies was the reporter who penned this piece. (fwiw, I've only seen part of the first H&K on cable, I'm not fond of movies which play on negative stereotypes of marijuana users for laughs.) Here's the link btw to that boxofficemojo page which contains the figures quoted above. http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=haroldandkumar3.htm

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

©2014 SF Weekly, LP, All rights reserved.
Loading...