Imagine having the chance to endorse a policy that 58% of all voters in your state want, and only 26% oppose. 

Imagine getting behind a policy so bipartisan and appealing that it can sway Trump voters to support your opponent, a full-on leftie

Imagine the opportunity to advocate for an economic boom that can create countless jobs in your state, and stop it from hemorrhaging millions of dollars to your neighbors.

Then imagine going on TV and saying, nahhh, fuck all of that.

That’s precisely the course of action that Dr. Mehmet Oz—the reality TV quack turned MAGA Pennsylvania Senate hopeful—took yesterday, May 19, when he hopped on Newsmax to deride and mock cannabis consumers and the cannabis industry writ large. 

The rant commenced when host Greg Kelly launched into a brief tirade about Lt. Governor John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for Pennsylvania’s open seat in the US Senate. The Democrat, Kelly noted, aghast, wears “hoodies.” He also wears shorts! Aaaand he supports legal marijuana!!

Dr. Oz shook his head in disgust before winding up…and delivering the pitch, transcribed here in its full glory:

“There are not enough Pennsylvanians to work in Pennsylvania. So, giving them pot so they stay home I don’t think is an ideal move. Also, I don’t want to breed addiction to marijuana. It’s not physical addiction, it’s emotional addiction. 

But I don’t want young people to think they have to smoke a joint to get out of the house in the morning. We need to get Pennsylvanians back at work, got to give them their mojo, and I don’t want marijuana to be a hindrance to that. 

I also don’t want people operating heavy machinery and driving by me when they’re taking their fourth joint of the day.”

Folks, I got too much to do today to break down every instance of inaccuracy, condescension, and obliviousness in this breathtaking monologue. But I know that you—like me—have family members and friends who gobble up this kind of rhetoric like it’s Vicodin, and at some point, you might have to actually talk to them about it. 

So, let’s go over a few points:

  • Since when does “giving” pot (wait, it’s free now?) to people make them stay home? Folks, pot has been shown to help people focus. Insanely successful athletes use it. Entrepreneurs, visionaries, activists…they all smoke pot!
  • What is this emotional addiction you speak of, doc? Pot has been shown to help folks deal with stress. There’s a lot of stress out there. You want to make them less stressed? I dunno, make a plan to help us turn the corner on climate change, income inequality, chronic loneliness, homelessness, and more.
  • When you say mojo, do you mean…? Yes, ladies and gents, it does make people frisky.
  • Yeah, so…states with legal weed don’t allow you to operate heavy machinery when you’re high. Or impaired on any substance. If you can trust your employees to not get shitfaced and go buckwild with a forklift, you can expect them to act accordingly if they have access to legal weed. Cannabis is now legal for all adults in 18 states. We have yet to experience an outbreak of stoners joyriding in front loaders. 
  • Lastly…find me someone that “takes” joints, and I’ll run a full-length story on them. Scout’s honor.

For the moment, it remains to be seen whether Dr. Oz will even prevail in the GOP Senate primary. He’s currently in a dead-heat with his Republican rival.  

But if he does in fact face off against Fetterman, expect this topic to come up again—and again, and again. And expect Fetterman, one of the loudest pro-legalization voices in politics, to run with it. 

Because—as Fetterman realizes, and Oz clearly does not—talking about legalization isn’t about just speaking to a left-wing base. It’s about speaking to an enormous swath of American voters. And it might even win an election.

Max Savage Levenson's Bio Image

Max Savage Levenson

Max Savage Levenson likely has the lowest cannabis tolerance of any writer on the cannabis beat. He also writes about music for Pitchfork, Bandcamp and other bespectacled folk. He co-hosts The Hash podcast. His dream interview is Tyler the Creator.

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