President Biden has suffered two avoidable embarrassments. First, he somehow managed to fall three times trying to run up the ramp stairs for Airforce One. I’m even older than he is, so I’m sympathetic. Oops. It happens.
Don’t worry if you missed it. It will run forever on the Trump cult networks to demonstrate how inferior he is to the godlike athleticism of the Apollo of Mar-a-Swampo.
The second embarrassment was deliberate. The Biden White House fired five staffers who honestly admitted to having used marijuana.
Someone immediately pointed out that this would have kept former President Barack (“Lock My People Up”) Obama from being appointed to anything. To which I say, Hooray.
On the other hand, it is utterly inconsistent with his claims that his advisers will lead with “science and truth“.
To the contrary, this places a penalty on both, and arguably creates security risks.
More substantially, it will pointlessly exclude some truly great minds. Two of the greatest geniuses of the last century were cannabis users:
The late Carl Sagan, “American astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, and science communicator.”
As Wikipedia described him, “Sagan was a user and advocate of marijuana. Under the pseudonym “Mr. X”, he contributed an essay about smoking cannabis to the 1971 book Marihuana Reconsidered. The essay explained that marijuana use had helped to inspire some of Sagan’s works and enhance sensual and intellectual experiences. After Sagan’s death, his friend Lester Grinspoon disclosed this information to Sagan’s biographer, Keay Davidson. The publishing of the biography, Carl Sagan: A Life, in 1999 brought media attention to this aspect of Sagan’s life. Not long after his death, his widow Ann Druyan went on to preside over the board of directors of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), a non-profit organization dedicated to reforming cannabis laws.”
I had the honor of being the National Director of NORML at the time, and the dinner that Allen St. Pierre and I had with Sagan and Druyan was one of the greatest experiences of my very fun life.
Another great mind (and a NORML Board member, also recruited by Lester Grinspoon) that would be excluded was Nobel Laureate, Kary Mullis. He “shared the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Michael Smith and was awarded the Japan Prize in the same year.” His invention became a central technique in biochemistry and molecular biology, described by The New York Times as “highly original and significant, virtually dividing biology into the two epochs of before PCR and after PCR.”
Mullis would have been especially problematic for the truth aversive because in a Q&A interview published in the September 1994 issue of California Monthly, Mullis said, “Back in the 1960s and early 1970s I took plenty of LSD. A lot of people were doing that in Berkeley back then. And I found it to be a mind-opening experience. It was certainly much more important than any courses I ever took.”[verification needed] During a symposium held for centenarian Albert Hofmann, Hofmann said Mullis had told him that LSD had “helped him develop the polymerase chain reaction that helps amplify specific DNA sequences.”
Well, we certainly would not want people like that giving Biden advice unless it was about holding on to the railing.
Of course, the most serious problem is what this means for the Biden administration policies. After over 22 million arrests, Biden was shocked, shocked to find out that the laws he supported for decades had disproportionately impacted racial minorities, whose champion he now claims to be.
He may or may not understand the degree to which he owes his election to Trump’s failure to support marijuana legalization and the fact Biden’s supporters obscured his prohibitionist record.
Sadly, Biden reminds me of what Talleyrand said about the Bourbon dynasty: “They had learned nothing and forgotten nothing.”
Richard Cowan is a former NORML National Director and author of A Primer About The Smell And Taste Of CBD Oil.
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