In a classic example of politics as usual, a former frat guy turned head of state refuses to let the real 'heads enjoy themselves.
Politics is, by and large, rooted in hypocrisy, covered in a thick layer of grease and presented to the public in a suit-and-tie fashion — complete with a $50 haircut — designed to trick society's downtrodden into forgetting that their elected officials are mostly just douchebags, deviants and boozehounds.
We understand we're not telling you anything here that you don't already know. But then again, it's never a bad idea to take a refresher course on how the government rolls in our Land of the Free. It's the duplicity of it all that really gets us fuming, especially when these caricatures of moral leadership stand in the way of progress, even while admitting that they used to break the same laws they refuse change.
There is no better example of this than Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb. The Republican remains adamantly opposed to the legalization of marijuana, as long as Uncle Sam and his band of ramshackle goons continue to call it a dangerous, Schedule I drug. But it turns out that Gov. Holcomb, Mr. "It's a Crime to Use Marijuana in the State of Indiana," is an ex-stoner from way back in the day who used to chief out with his college frat brothers.
Not Cool, Bro
Although Holcomb has hinted in the past that he might be open to putting a comprehensive medical marijuana law on the books, he has yet to make meaningful moves. He told the Northwest Indiana Times in December that he's "just not willing to look at that, especially since it is illegal right now according to the federal government."
But earlier this week, when a reporter asked Holcomb whether he had ever used marijuana, he answered "yes." Although he was brief with his response, the governor admitted to smoking marijuana back in the late '80s and early '90s while attending Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana.
"Even though it's illegal?" the reporter asked.
"Yes," Holcomb replied.
Now, the governor didn't share with reporters his frequency of use or elaborate on whether he, as the chapter president of Phi Gamma Delta, was able to do bong rips like a champ. All we know is that one of the tunes in the frat's longtime songbook is called Smoke Dreams. So, as far as we are concerned, there isn't any doubt that Gov. Holcomb was once part of the Stoned Bro culture.
But in spite of Holcomb's experience with pot, one that presumably taught him that the herb is safe, fun and has an uncanny way of making his UB40 cassette sound better – come on, all of these Republican rakehells listened to that crap back in the day — the governor still doesn't want anything to do with legalizing it in Indiana. It's almost as though he has forgotten where he comes from.
Reiterating his previous statements on the matter, Holcomb said his position on prohibition is based mostly on marijuana still being a Schedule I drug. He says he'd like to see more research done before allowing the cannabis trade to become a full-blown product of American commerce.
The governor told reporters that Indiana would roll up its sleeves and dive into such research as soon as Congress changes the law. But until that time, he's not sure if marijuana legalization is the right move.
"If the law changed, we would look at all the positive or adverse impacts it would have," he said, according to the Indianapolis Star. "I'm not convinced other states have made a wise decision."
Get With the Times, Man
But Holcomb needs to do something fast. Marijuana legalization is pushing full steam ahead in the armpit of America. Michigan just legalized for recreational use, Ohio's medical marijuana program has made baby steps and Illinois is on track to go fully legal, maybe even before the end of 2019.
Kentucky, well, lawmakers there are still slow going concerning their approach to marijuana reform, but there even without them there is enough action surrounding Indiana now to cause law enforcement issues, what with all the people smuggling in cannabis products bought legally in other states.
There is currently legislation on the table in Indiana intended to decriminalize pot possession statewide, making it a minor infraction instead of a criminal offense. But it is doubtful that the Republican-dominated legislature and Gov. Holcomb will allow something like that to move forward. Not this year. Right now, they are all too busy trying to get farmers into the hemp business.
All politics aside, we're not convinced that Holcomb isn't still hitting the occasional bowl when he heads back to the governor's mansion in the evening. A list of "fun facts" posted on the Indiana.gov website indicates that Holcomb's favorite recipe is something called State Park S'mores, which is melted chocolate and marshmallows on graham crackers. If we've learned one thing from being in this business, it's how to spot a stoner. Any grown human with an affinity for chocolate-smothered junk foods has been forced to contend with the munchies more than a few times in his or her life.
And if s'mores were top of mind when Holcomb responded to these "fun" questions, there's a non-zero chance he was high at the time. This is purely speculation, mind you, but again, we know things.
TELL US, which state do you think will legalize cannabis next?
This article first appeared on High Times.
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Clarice, a Melbourne-based writer, began her career covering the technology industry and now writes, edits and interviews subject matter experts in the Cannabis Industry.