|“What is with the marijuana crackdown?” Kimmel asked, looking directly at President Obama.
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel addressed the issue of marijuana legalization while delivering his remarks at the 2012 White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday night.
“What is with the marijuana crackdown?” Kimmel asked, looking directly at President Obama, reports Paige Lavender at the Huffington Post. “Seriously, what is the concern? We will deplete the nation’s Funyon supply?” A slightly uncomfortable-looking Obama smiled broadly at this.
“Pot smokers vote, too,” Kimmel continued. “Sometimes a week after the election, but they vote.”
|Pop 2 It|
|Kimmel, left, and First Lady Michelle Obama at Saturday night’s White House Correspondents Dinner, April 28, 2012|
Kimmel then challenged the crowd — including Hollywood celebrities like Kim Kardashian and George Clooney, and media starts like Brit Hume.
“I would like everyone in this room to raise your hand if you’ve never smoked pot,” he said.
Only a few hands went up.
Kimmel then said directly to President Obama: “Marijuana is something that real people care about.”
Obama recently said he doesn’t “mind a debate” about pot legalization, but he’s also increased a crackdown against medical marijuana producers across the nation, including a high-profile raid on California training school Oaksterdam University.
The President mentioned the crackdown in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, attempting to clarify his 2008 comments that he was “not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws.”
Obama tried to parse his original comments, claiming that the recent crackdown on dispensaries was in line with his intent.
“What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana,” Obama said. “I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana — and the reason is, because it’s against federal law.”
“I can’t nullify Congressional law,” Obama told Rolling Stone. “I can’t ask the Justice Department to say, ‘Ignore completely a federal law that’s on the books.’ What I can say is, ‘Use your prosecutorial discretion and properly prioritize your resources to go after things that are really doing folks damage.’ As a consequence, there haven’t been prosecutions of users of marijuana for medical purposes.”
But Attorney General Eric Holder was a guest of The Huffington Post at the correspondents’ dinner. Before it began, a HuffPost reporter noted to the Attorney General that Obama’s reference to “congressional law” was misleading, because the President could simply remove marijuana from its “Schedule I” designation, thereby recognizing its medical use with a stroke of the pen.
“That’s right,” Holder admitted.
A Holder deputy told HuffPost after Kimmel’s speech that there is no “coordinated war” against medical marijuana, but rather a few individual cannabis dispensaries are breaking both state and federal laws.