You've probably seen Richard Williams, better known as Prince Ea, pop up on your Facebook feed recently: the spoken word artist has become something of a YouTube celeb, discussing, in a distinctive, inspiring cadence, topics ranging from the environment to the signs that you've found true love. We were particularly taken with Ea's recent video for "Why Weed Should Be Legal", a rap he wrote four years ago, and addressed to President Obama.
Weirdly, says Ea, "before I wrote that song, I was anti-marijuana: I'm still not a big smoker, nor would I ever advocate people to smoke. But after I did the honest research it became clear that our marijuana laws were created on the basis of racism and corporate greed. And these laws are more dangerous than marijuana itself."
The song which just got reposted with a new video featuring an actor playing the President, takes down the arguments for prohibition in minute detail - so much detail, in fact, that you might have to watch it a few times to take it all in. Since the lyrics don't seem to be available online, we've included a transcription, below. It's a hell of a long read - but worth checking out some of Ea's claims for yourself.
Why Weed Should Be Legal - Prince Ea
Mr. President, I come to you on behalf of my generation to talk to you about this little plant situation. See, a lot of politicians hate it, but I'm gonna break it down, and demonstrate to you why it's not as bad as they make it sound. See, you're the president that I believe can handle this: heck, your campaign slogan was "yes we can-nabis" (Just kidding). But seriously: let's examine this truthfully dawg: you taught constitutional law at Harvard, right? In '96? Well, you should know the Declaration of Independence was drafted out of hemp. So was the flag, so were the sails that pushed our ships on our path to the colonies. So was the fuel used for Henry Ford's Model T. So, in a sense, you could say that pot has actually driven American history.
Obama: Oh please! It makes you lazy and underachieve!
But how can that be when some of the most successful people smoke weed, from Walt Disney to Milton Fried? From Stephen King to Steve Jobs, the apple didn't fall far from the tree. You get it? Steve Jobs, apple, trees, Jobs created the Apple computer high off weed. See people believe that this plant is sinful, but let's go back in time and find out exactly where these beliefs came from. Because before the 1930s, you could blaze up, but after the 1930s, things changed up.
That's when President Hoover commissioned a man named Harry J. Anslinger as head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. His middle name is ironic because he was the main guy looking to demonize marijuana - I mean cannabis sativa. The name "marijuana" he created as propaganda for the people to make it sound more dirty and a little more evil. He figured if he could scare the public, they would want it illegal.
He teamed up with newspapers who had their own motivation. The newspapers printed fake stories about how every puff destroys your brain making you crazy, insane, prone to murder and rape. They used race in there, and said again and again that weed makes white women want to get pregnant by negroes and immigrant Mexicans. And based off of no research, or investigation, Congress rubber-stamped that legislation. Then, poof, there was a law around it, so we accepted it and never thought about it. But let's get smart about it. Lies and greed are the real reason it's illegal, and the real reason you've got that look on your face when I'm talking about it.
Obama: Mr. EA, marijuana is illegal for public health reasons. We don't want the American people breathing that stuff in and smoking it in. There ain't nothing wrong with a little game day buzz. But marijuana is a dangerous, useless, gateway drug. You want me to legalize? So that kids can get it easier? Well, what can I say? Either that's something to laugh at, or bro, you're more of a jackass than Kanye.
Jackass, okay, How 'bout we talk about this rationally. See, every 6 seconds, a person dies from tobacco, and every 13 from alcohol. Guess how many died in the last 10,000 years from weed? None at all. Zip, zero, nada. No chance to overdose. Not one case in history and no, I'm not blowing smoke.
Don't be a coward, just regulate and control it: take the power from the drug dealers who contaminate, sell it, and own it. See they love the laws, and all y'all, 'cause they make millions. When drug dealers support your laws, it's time to amend them. As for the kids, yeah I'd agree, but it's easier for kids to buy weed than to buy beer or cigarettes. Is that surprising? Think about it, sir: how many drug dealers that you know that ask to see ID?
Stop saying it's a gateway drug, something so strong that you can't break away from. Big homie, listen, quit being a politician, studies show it's not addictive and the gateway theory is a lot of fiction. The contradiction, and you can quote me on it, is that you said marijuana was a useless drug, hold up a moment: medical tests and evidence show it's proven to treat glaucoma, cancer, asthma, multiple sclerosis. It could do so much if it were legal, but if it were legal, a lot of pharmaceutical drugs would not be needed. I did my research, and it seems that Big Pharma gave you millions of dollars, so if weed became legal they would lose a lot of profit and you would lose funding. So tell me Mr President, is it really public health or is it special interest? Are you worried about the kids or the profit businesses? Only a few years back you was against lobbying and corporate rivalry. You campaigned for change, well dammit, now demonstrate it in policy.
If you really want to stimulate the economy and mitigate the problems that emanate from poverty, it's time to legalize this billion-dollar commodity. Harvard Professor Jeffery Miron estimated $9 billion generated in taxes from regulation, plus another $11 would be saved on law enforcement resources and incarceration. That's $20 billion total every year: you're saying this country don't need that kind of paper? Put it toward environment, invest in education, infrastructure, in conjunction with job creation, or maybe a combination. Just stop laughing at the situation, and give it serious consideration. It ain't a joke, ain't nothing funny. The country's broke and the people need money. It's simple economics.
Listen, you did it, Bush did it, Clinton did it, Lincoln did it, and now you throw people in prison for this crime that we committed? Mr. President, if it's such a sin, why don't you, and the men I just named turn yourselves in? I beg your pardon? See I don't want to hear that circular logic, we ain't in the Oval Office. Let's be honest, if you got caught with marijuana the day you smoked there wouldn't even be an Obama. No Barack at that prestigious college, or Harvard, getting his speeches polished with high honours. Because today you can't get a student loan if you're caught with one weed cigarette, but you can have a rape conviction on your record and still get a cheque from the government. Yo, what the fuck is this? Do you not see injustice when there's people suffering, sick, dying of cancer, whose only relief is a plant proven to ease pain? I don't mean handcuffs, I don't mean being called a criminal, I don't mean thrown behind bars, pitiful. Mr. President, this ain't political, it's common sensical: millions of people in prison for something that's never killed a single individual.
But you made deals with prescription drug advocates, and just last year, more Americans died from prescriptions in their cabinets than heroin, terrorism, murder, and traffic accidents combined. Mr. President, open your eyes and see the blood on the wall, these companies wouldn't care if the country was coming apart, they sharks. They only care about how much it'll cost. There hasn't been a disease cured in 60 years, why? Because a patient cured is a customer lost. I say, enough is enough, it's time for us to fix this. It's time to get away from the pharmaceutical interest, forget about the stigma, forget the opinions of politicians, because collective ignorance don't mean wisdom. Forget about pandering to the system, because when the system is wrong, Sir it's your duty to go against it. I urge you to re-read the Ninth Amendment, and have courage and conviction and remember your commitment to the people.
Because what if it was Malia? What if she needed a drug that was illegal to survive? Would things change? Would they be a little different? Would policy remain? Put yourself in that position. And no, I'm not wishing that on you, I'm just illustrating the consequences of this little plant situation, because a lot of politicians hate it, but I just broke it down.
It's time for you to step up. Sir, the time is now.
Banner image: Facebook.com/PrinceEA