Bill Maher Appears to Back Equity in Cannabis on 'Real Time'

Bill Maher: "he business of selling pot would be awarded first to the those who suffered most from the drug war and, you know what, I can’t argue with that instinct."

Sniffing out the hottest issue in cannabis, Bill Maher has weighed in on the equity debate on recent episodes Real Time on HBO.

Just this week, on June 24, Maher carved out a section of his final New Rule to make this statement:

"When he ran in 2020 Bernie Sanders said he would legalize marijuana on his first day as president. But, that the business of selling pot would be awarded first to the those who suffered most from the drug war and, you know what, I can't argue with that instinct. The drug war has been a horrendous instrument of prejudice and punishment for racial minorities. So, it seems fair that they jump the line for weed franchises the way Indians did for casinos. But it's also what's holding up Republican support from legalizing weed nationally, which woud be good for everybody. And these are the hard, practicle choices the Democrats have to weigh: Redress the past or reach out to the gettable white voter who says, You know what, I'd like a shot at getting in the pot business. But to do that I'm going to need a good lawyer who fights for me."

Cue to 4:45 below...

Speaking to former Attorney General Eric Holder on Real Time/Overtime on June 3, Maher noted: "I think Republicans are going to steal the issue. Like, John Boehner works for a marijuana company now. It could be one of those freedom issues and of course Republicans smoke losy of pot too."

"Not enough," Holder quipped back. "They need to mellow out just a little bit more."

"But there was something that was passed in the House," Maher went on. "The Republicans are against it  because they think there's too much stuff about equity in there. Now I understand the impetus to want to, like, for example, if you're gonna have new businesses that are legal in the marijuana field, yeah, they probably should go to the people who suffered the most during the drug war. Republicans, of course, are saying this is a deal-breaker. What do you want, half a loaf? If they said OK, no equity, is it better to have the law passed or changed or is it better to hold out for equity?"

Cue to :55...

Holder replied: "It's better to have the law changed. And as I said, deal with the societal reality that we have and, you know, try to make it as equitable as you possibly can, but I wouldn't want to stop the movement that I think makes sense for the sake of equity." 

Maher is an investor in The Woods, a new dispensary in West Hollywood co-owned by Woody Harrelson.


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.