Morgan Freeman has gotten a lot of people’s attention.
The Academy Award-winning actor, who has appeared in films like The Dark Knight, The Shawshank Redemption, and Bruce Almighty (where he played God), recently told The Daily Beast that marijuana should be “legalized across the board.”
We reported that here at CBE, and Freeman’s statements got a lot of attention because, even in this pro-legalization environment, it’s pretty rare when such a prominent mainstream celebrity makes a highly public pitch in support of the legal Cannabis Industry.
Freeman also talked about how he uses marijuana frequently, and that he does so to help ease fibromyalgia pain from a 2008 automobile accident. He said that cannabis is “the only thing that offers any relief … They’re talking about kids who have grand mal seizures, and they’ve discovered that marijuana eases that down to where these children can have a life.”
Freeman’s proclamation in support of marijuana is welcome, of course, and it was seized upon by the mainstream media because of how rare it is for well-known celebrities to wade into the national debate on this topic. Comments like his helps to fuel the legalization bandwagon, and in the minds of many people, helps nudge it forward a little bit.
But, as Sean Williams of The Motley Fool pointed out last week, it’s going to take a lot more than just getting Hollywood celebrities voicing their support. As he noted:
The American public is stating loud and clear that marijuana has becoming an important issue, and it wants its lawmakers and president to take notice.
The grim reality, however, is that getting Congress to hold the same view regarding marijuana could be difficult. …
It’s just not a pressing issue for the current Congress or for President Obama. Congress’ primary concerns relate to sustaining growth for the U.S. economy, continuing to improve jobs, and ensuring that foreign threats such as Iran and North Korea remain at bay. Even President Obama recently commented that he’d rather see America’s youth focus less on marijuana legalization and more on pressing political issues.
Personally, I do believe a federal rescheduling of marijuana is coming at some point, but I’d be personally shocked if it occurred anytime soon. With elections seemingly around the corner and a laundry list of foreign problems, marijuana continues to look like a poor investment and an issue that’ll be pushed further down the docket by lawmakers.”
Williams comments are sadly on point. The reality is that despite all the support from people like Morgan Freeman and Willie Nelson, getting Congress to act and ease up on decades of anti-marijuana drug policy is going to be difficult and probably take longer than any of us care to admit.
In other words, what Morgan Freeman is saying is welcome, but he’s just one voice in the debate regardless of how well-known he is.
What his comments serve to do is keep the legalization discussion front and center and in the minds of everyone — and, that’s what we are going to need to keep the legalization band wagon moving ahead.
So, say thanks to Morgan Freeman, not only for all his great film performances, but also for keeping the legal cannabis discussion current and focused. And, let’s hope that a lot of his friends in Hollywood do the same.