This is probably an obvious statement to make, but if Nancy Grace is the best person that marijuana prohibitionists have to represent their side, they might as well give up now and save their money for a more worthwhile puritanical cause. The former terrible prosecutor and present terrible TV screaming head couldn’t even hold her own against 2Chainz (the guy most known for ruining your favorite song by shouting his name over the hook), and the world is a better place for her failure.
Grace’s main thesis on why marijuana shouldn’t be legalized has apparently evolved from her nuanced 2014 view of “stoners be fat and stuff” to the more complex concern of “stoners are probably going to force their kids to smoke their stash”. And like a good prosecutor, Grace based this well-grounded fear on a few assorted YouTube videos that she found. Even for a TV event that was intentionally catered to appeal to the lowest common denominator, Grace managed to walk away looking unprepared and at a loss compared to a guy whose day job consists of making Nicki Minaj songs palatable.
Perhaps not surprisingly, while Grace might have perfected her DA scowl and moronic hashtag (#Pot2Blame) for this debate, she quickly discovered that 2Chainz had a much better grasp both on the various failings of our drug regulatory scheme AND on its intersection with our juvenile dependency system. When faced with the YouTube videos his response was succinct and precise: “there might be something more going on [with the parent] than a joint”. When Grace peppered him with hypotheticals about our terrible kush-fueled hellscape where “everyone has access to pot,” 2Chainz replied by first calling out Grace on the relevance of her argument (“I don’t know if you know this but everyone has access to pot right now”) and then making the obvious distinction between recreational pot use and parenting ability (“I don’t even give my daughter caffeine”).
2Chainz then took hold of the debate himself by bringing up the collateral legal consequences faced by recreational marijuana users, as well as a public policy argument centered on the fiscal impact of the drug war at large. When Grace expressed ignorance at the entire basis of his point, 2Chainz countered with his own experience of being arrested for possession of a grinder with pot residue (after being stopped on what sounds like a pretty obvious case of DWB), which even Nancy Grace admitted seemed like a waste of police resources.
In all this “debate” was the equivalent of seeing your assistant principal being schooled by the smart-ass kid in detention. It was fun to watch, especially this part
…but it probably won’t have that much of an impact over the evolving legal status of the drug in question.
In fact, as this train wreck was happening on Jeffery Zucker’s crime against television, a much more interesting and important deliberation is finishing up in US District Court in Sacramento over marijuana’s place as a Schedule 1 drug. This very quiet but potentially huge fact-finding discussion concerns both whether that classification violates equal protection, and if it is based on bad science regarding the effects of the drug. It’s the sort of legal query that might be perfect for say, a primetime cable show on the criminal justice system, but since Headline News is lead by a guy who thinks that Crossfire is good television, viewers are instead stuck with Nancy Grace yelling vaguely racist things at the guy who behind “I Luv Dem Strippers””.
Stefan BC is a marijuana advocate and juvenile dependency lawyer in Long Beach California. Follow him at @Stefan_BC or his new firm @Cannabarrister on twitter