Film and TV

Video: Marijuana Amendment 64's Mason Tvert should help pass act in Cali, says Bill Maher

If you had any doubt that the passage of Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, would turn proponent Mason Tvert into a national figure, look no further than this weekend's episode of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher. Maher, a vocal supporter of marijuana policy reform, devoted seven minutes to interviewing Tvert -- and trying to lure him to California to pass something similar there. See the complete clip below.

The wide-ranging conversation touched on many of Tvert's favorite talking points regarding the relative safety of marijuana as compared with alcohol. For instance, he noted that no one really gets high and then goes home and hits his wife.

As for Maher, he took delight in needling Governor John Hickenlooper for his post-passage joke advising people not to break out their Cheetos and Goldfish quite yet and suggested that the word "Hickenlooper" should henceforth be used as a declaration of wonder after taking too big a bong hit. He also opined that both Cheetos and Goldfish are also more dangerous than pot, prompting Tvert to compare both of them to sour grapes.

Maher noted that federal cannabis policy didn't improve under the Obama administration -- understandable, in his view, because "you can't be the first black President and then say, 'Let's spark up, everybody.'" However, he added that he has a "liberal fantasy" that Obama will relax his views on the subject during his second term -- a phrase nearly identical to one used by DU professor Sam Kamin in an interview last week. Kamin thinks Obama is too inherently conservative to make this dream a reality, however.

In addition, Maher pointed out that Amendment 64 actually received a higher percentage of the popular vote than did Obama in Colorado, suggesting that Democrats could have ridden on the coattails of the pot proposal. Tvert responded that this potential "wedge issue" could work for Republicans, too, giving Maher the opportunity to reply with, "They need one."

Continue for more about Bill Maher's interview with Amendment 64's Mason Tvert, including the video. Tvert expressed hope that the federal government will take a similar hands-off attitude to a recreational retail system for marijuana sales in Colorado that it did for the state's medical marijuana structure. And he didn't shrug off Maher's entreaties to help pass a new pot law in California. Far from it: He said he'd take up the cause for Maher, who definitely didn't seem to be joking about his invite. He concluded the conversation with the line, "If you come to our state, if you do this for us, I will give you money."

Here's the interview.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Amendment 64: Feds will threaten lawsuit or arrests to stop implementation, predicts DU prof."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts