Admitting Pot Use Doesn’t Cost Brownie Points

Maybe it’s a sign of the times or just a crazy California quirk, but admitting to past pot smoking doesn’t seem to cause much of a stink anymore.

Peter Siggins, Gov. Arnold Schwarzegger’s former legal affairs secretary, got confirmed to San Francisco’s First District Court of Appeal on Friday with nary a discouraging word about his admitted marijuana usage back in his younger days.

Asked on his application form whether he’d ever illegally used drugs, the 50-year-old Siggins wrote: “Yes. Occasional social use of marijuana in college and some law school. Last time probably in 1978 or 1979. I do not currently use any illegal drugs.?

That would mean Siggins smoked pot until his mid-20s. But no one seems to care anymore.

It wasn’t that way 19 years ago, when Douglas Ginsburg, now chief judge of the D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, withdrew his name as a Reagan appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court after an uproar over his admitted marijuana use during the 1960s and ‘70s.

The federal government’s antidrug programs — including Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No? mantra — were in high vogue in 1987 and Ginsburg was vilified for using pot not only as a student, but also as a professor at Harvard Law School.

Five years later, Bill Clinton was widely lampooned when he stated that he had experimented with marijuana as a student in England, but “didn’t inhale.?

Things seemed to be lightening up by 1996, when California voters approved doctors recommending marijuana for use by ailing patients. Other states followed, but the U.S. Supreme Court in 2001 tossed out California’s statute, paving the way for continued federal prosecution.

The general populace, at least in California however, seems to have adopted a more open attitude about pot use. In late 2001, when California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno admitted in his application form that he used pot in college and law school “ending in 1975,? most media outlets ignored it and there was no outcry like that experienced by Ginsburg.

The general feeling appeared to be that pretty much everyone who grew up in the ’60s and ’70s had sampled pot at one point or another as almost a rite of passage. Even those who didn’t use marijuana seemed ho-hum, that past pot use was no reason to crucify someone.

It makes one wonder, though, what will happen if someone seeking high office or a place on the bench someday admits to more hard-core drug use. Say, a little cocaine in the ’80s or crystal meth in the ’90s.

Now that would be an eye-opener.

— Mike McKee

2 Responses to “Admitting Pot Use Doesn’t Cost Brownie Points”

  1. ponbigi Says:

    I think that’s great, no story there because he openly admitted it at the begining. I have never had a problem with social and occasional pot use.

  2. dopeman Says:

    Blaze dat weed up!

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