Washington Babylon — November 12, 2008, 8:36 am

Potheads for Change

From The Agitator (via Andrew Sullivan):

The latest absurdity to come out of the Office of National Drug Control Policy is an anti-pot PR campaign with the motto, “Hey, not trying to be your mom, but there aren’t many jobs out there for potheads.” The first three ads suggest that drug users can look forward to a career as a “burrito taster,” a “couch security guard,” or “remote control operator.” It’s an incredibly lame campaign, and reeks of stodgy wonks making a desperate attempt to look hip…

Here’s my challenge to Agitator readers, bloggers, and others: In this comments thread, let’s compile a master list of admitted pot smokers—current or former—who not only haven’t ended up as heroin junkies or burnouts, but have gone on to lead successful lives… I’ll get it started:

Barack Obama, president-elect. Bill Clinton, 42nd president of the U.S. John Kerry, U.S. Senator and 2004 Democratic nominee for president. John Edwards, multi-millionaire, former U.S. Senator, and 2004 Democratic nominee for vice president. Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, 2008 Republican nominee for vice president. British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly, and and Chancellor Alistair Darling. Josh Howard, NBA all-star. New York Governor David Paterson. Former Vice President, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Oscar winner Al Gore. Former Sen. Bill Bradley, who smoked while playing professional basketball. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, and former New York Governor George Pataki. Billionaire and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

That’s the result of a five-minute Google search. The presence of so many high-ranking politicians so early in the search results puts the lie to the ONDCP’s ridiculous ad campaign, and shows that to the extent that marijuana is harmful, the harm lies mostly in what the government will do to you to you if it catches you.

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I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

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