Today, in the historic first online town hall, President Obama fielded questions from nearly a hundred thousand people online. One of the most popular questions, and indeed, one of the most popular questions in any forum that lets people vote on what matters to them, was about whether legalizing marijuana would help improve the economy and job creation.
Chuckling, the President said: "I don't know what this says about the online audience, but [laughing] this was a fairly popular question, we want to make sure it was answered. The answer is no, I don't think that is a good strategy to grow our economy."
I've never smoked pot in my life, indeed I've never smoked anything at all. Despite that, a couple years ago, I needed a double lung transplant. My lungs were scarred beyond repair due to side effects from radiation treatments I'd had nearly a decade earlier in my two battles with cancer.
I lost a lot of weight in this process, to the point where it was life-threatening. My lung doctor suggested "marinol," the synthetic (and legal) version of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. I laughed at him, and asked "Was this going to make me stupid? I don't want to be a pothead!" He said one of his patients put on 40 pounds with it. I didn't have any other option.
It worked. Marinol allowed me to put on enough weight to get me out of the danger zone until we figured out the underlying problem was a bleeding ulcer in my stomach, a reaction to one of the anti-rejection drugs I was taking for the transplant.
Pot saved my life. It's a miracle drug, even the crappy non-organic kind made in a lab.
The President will be asked this question again, and maybe next time he won't laugh at us.
UPDATE: Here's the video: