California Governor Jerry Brown (D) really showed his age this weekend when he responded to a serious question about marijuana legalization with absurd concerns about potheads making the country weak. From Meet the Press:
DAVID GREGORY: Forty years ago, we weren’t talking about legalizing marijuana in states either. Is that a good idea or a bad idea for California?
GOVERNOR JERRY BROWN: Well, we have medical marijuana, which gets very close to what they have in Colorado and Washington. I’d really like those two states to show us how it’s going to work. The problem with anything, a certain amount is okay. But there is a tendency to go to extremes. And all of a sudden, if there’s advertising and legitimacy, how many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation? The world’s pretty dangerous, very competitive. I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together.
Does Brown honestly think Mexico is just quietly waiting for California to legalize marijuana to invade a state too stoned to fight back?
This is sadly a perfect display of the generational problem marijuana reform faces with elected officials. A clear majority of adults under the age of 65 think marijuana should be legalized. The problem is senior citizens are the only age group which opposes it but they control a disproportionate share of top political positions. Politicians like Jerry Brown (age 75) are radically out of step with the rest of the electorate on this issue and are standing in the way of reform.
This is why ballot initiatives have been so important for advancing the issue so far, because it allows people to get around geriatric politicians like Brown.
*post was updated with correct video
Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy