“Not being classy” is beside the point
First people shamed Malia Obama for dancing, and now they’re freaking out because she allegedly smoked pot at Lollapalooza. Naturally, social media users were quick to make judgments online and share their reactions. Some referenced President Obama’s history with marijuana while others accused Malia of having “no respect” for her father, the move being “not exactly classy.”
Twitter’s comedians took the opportunity to make jokes, of course, with some picking lower-hanging fruit than others.
Let’s get a few things straight. Malia Obama, while a daughter of a U.S. president, is also a legal adult. According to a recent Gallup poll, more than 33 million Americans—that’s roughly one in ten U.S. residents—gets high. Even so, possessing cannabis is still a federal crime, and when you are related to the most powerful person in the country, that’s kind of a big deal.
So, while the classiness of smoking pot may be beside the point, breaking the law as an American figurehead isn’t. It raises some important questions like, how accountable do we expect the First Family to be? Or is this a telltale sign that the federal legalization of marijuana should have more urgency than ever? One Twitter user, Lisa Vikingstad, made an important point and echoed President Obama’s recent prison commutations, writing, “Malia Obama smoking pot doesn't mean anything other than the fact that all nonviolent drug offenders should be let out of prison.”
In any case, Malia Obama’s reported actions could raise a constructive debate—as long as we can divert our attention from what she’s wearing long enough to start the conversation.