Jay Smooth: We’ve got to urge Obama to ‘be cool’ with weed legalization

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, November 15, 2012 13:05 EDT
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New York hip hop DJ Jay Smooth. Photo: Screenshot via BET.com.
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New York hip hop DJ Jay Smooth told viewers of BET’s “Don’t Sleep!” on Wednesday night that just because the presidential election is over doesn’t mean they can sit down and chill out.

Thanks to marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado, Smooth said that now is the time for President Barack Obama’s biggest supporters to urge him to “be cool” with the states laws and allow the industry to flourish.

“Obvious jokes aside, this really is a vital issue even if you, like me, don’t partake of that sacred herb,” he said. “We should all care about ending these marijuana laws that have criminalized a generation of black and brown youths and wasted billions of dollars that could go into education for our kids, instead of mass incarceration.”

“And that’s why, now that we’ve felt the high of another Obama victory, I think that we ought to have the munchies for some justice,” he concluded. “Now that we came out once again to help President Obama say, ‘Yes we can,’ I think it’s time we should ask him to join us in saying, ‘Puff, puff pass.’”

President Obama has said in the past that he favors decriminalization strategies that free up police resources and don’t trigger an automatic arrest for small time offenders. Despite that nuance, he’s consistently opposed legalization, but the Department of Justice still hasn’t said how it will react to the new laws in Colorado and Washington.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said last month that more than 757,000 people were arrested in the U.S. in 2011 for marijuana-related offenses, an overwhelming majority of them for simple possession. In all, America’s drug war netted 1.5 million arrests overall last year, amounting to roughly one arrest every 42 seconds.

This video is from BET’s “Don’t Sleep!” broadcast Wednesday, November 14, 2012.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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