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Marijuana activist says Obama campaign using "Harold and Kumar" clip to hide bad policies

Thumbnail image for Kal Penn thumb.jpg
Kal Penn.
Update below: Kal Penn and John Cho, the stars of the Harold and Kumar movies, have been to Colorado multiple times in recent weeks to stump for the Obama campaign, and both appear with the president in a video about Penn hosting Democratic National Convention coverage this week; see it below. However, a national cannabis activist blasts the clip, arguing that it plays off pot cliches that imply Obama's marijuana policies are more progressive than the facts show.

In August, when Westword's Sam Levin spoke with Penn at a campaign event, he asked about marijuana policy. Penn replied that the subject comes up fairly often "because of some of the movies I've done," but he maintained that he didn't know much about Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, or its possible impact on the presidential vote in Colorado.

Levin included these comments in his Penn post -- something the actor didn't appear to enjoy judging by this Twitter exchange:

kal penn sam levin tweet.jpg
But while Penn criticized Levin for asking about marijuana, Tom Angell, spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, believes a promotional spot hyping the actor's role as DNC-coverage host Thursday on BarackObama.com uses weed as a dishonest subtext.

The video begins with Obama making a phone call and telling the person on the other end of the line about the importance of the job at hand. The scene then transitions to Penn, holding the phone, and Cho sitting in a disheveled apartment watching and hooting at a television. Here's the clip:

The word "marijuana" isn't heard in the ad -- but in Angell's view, such a mention isn't necessary given the way the scene is staged.

"Featuring Harold and Kumar in this web ad, complete with pizza boxes strewn across the table, is a clear allusion to tired, old stoner stereotypes," he notes via e-mail, adding, "Someone in Chicago had a half-baked late night fantasy that this was going to go big on /r/trees on Reddit."

Continue reading for more reactions to the Obama campaign ad from LEAP's Tom Angell.



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14 comments
Mara Felsen
Mara Felsen

You mean there are people who DON'T think this is obviously playing on stoner stereotypes? fascinating.

Sean Gronbeck
Sean Gronbeck

government puppet like most of hollywood. I use medical marijuana and I do not support harold and kumar. now tommy chong thats a marijuana activist oh and willie nelson these people are awesome and have valid facts, this idiot is brainwashing the youth for obama by using stereotypes about stoners. oh, and i have no problem supporting my family all four kids and a wife and a ex wife. so dont tell me im burned out lmao.. no one that knows me would believe you.

nomadsport86
nomadsport86

on another note, do want to make it so that you sex crazed, sweaty palmed, drug abusers cant even buy your girlfriend an abortion because you're unemployed? If so, vote romney.

nomadsport86
nomadsport86

listen guys, I dont like barachs soft stance on medical marijuana either, but we're going to have to wait. Romney has no sympathy for medical marijuana. It will be one of the first things to dissipate if he gets elected. Hang tough, Barachs a politician, remember.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

The evocation of the stereotype of cannabis-users is feeble, but there.  Penn's tweet is pathetic.  Neill Franklin is right about how Obama seeks to manipulate us.  Here is one voter who uses cannabis and is not buying.

kwame
kwame

The sad part is Obama studied "constitutional law", which I guess gave him all his good ideas on how to further attack our personal freedoms.  

 

That anyone would believe for one second that Obama is Pro-Marijuana, shows just how bad this Cult of Personality has become. 

 

 Obama is a NEOCON, just like Bush. So I guess a Fake Liberal using Fake Stoners makes perfect sense. 

rsears457
rsears457

except for the age of Penn and Cho, how is that room different from any men's dorm room today(after a three day weekend), or a MTN Dew ad?

 

i have to agree with Penn, the activist can't see past a character in a film, and the daily reality of the target demographic.

Chriss Hoffman
Chriss Hoffman

There is only one candidate on the ballot that is running on marijuana legalization - Gary Johnson, consider voting for him instead of the lesser of two evils.

David Spohn
David Spohn

Hide? From whom? Anyone with a fucking brain in their head knows enough to know it is our damn choice not theirs to make on what we put into our bodies! I could give 2 shits less about any crooked ass politician and how they think I should live my life! Plain and simple. Now if those against it still need to be spoon fed propaganda to make up their own minds about it, then let those sheep be lead to the slaughter by their government! Because I resent and disobey all the laws I feel are unjust and lose ZERO seconds of sleep over it. WAKE THE FUCK UP YOU SHEEPLE! freedom of choice! And it's not open for debate on what freedoms and what choices we should be allowed to make.

Mara Felsen
Mara Felsen

You don't have to be a marijuana activist to see through the BS. All you need is half a brain and to be vaguely paying attention to notice the glaring hypocrisy of both Obama and Penn. utterly shameless.

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