During his monthly press conference on Thursday, Governor Gary Herbert was asked about proposed legislation that would make Utah the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana.
Herbert responded saying:
"I think the discussion is now at hand, the time is nigh, to see if we can find a pathway forward on this. But I'm not interested in having Dr. Feelgood out there say, 'Yeah, yeah, ¿qué pasa? You know, here's your doobie for the day and you'll feel better.' That's probably not where I want to go."
BOOM. Or should I say, el boom?
The governor’s choice of words hinted that all Latinos are drug dealers—or at least, whatever version of ‘drug dealer’ or ‘medical pot provider’ he has in his head. Thanks, Obama.
Herbert probably also thinks "authentic" tacos looks like this, that this is our version of dressing fancy and that we all love Selena. OK, we all fucking love Selena.
Still, in a state where prescription opioid overdoses are among the highest in the nation, the governor’s comments stung. Some took to social media to mock the leader:
Challenge: Use "nigh," "Dr. Feelgood," "que pasa," and "doobie," in one sentence. It ain't easy!— Max Roth (@maxroth) January 21, 2016
Utah ranks 8th in prescription drug overdose deaths in the U.S. but yes, let's go on about Dr. Feelgood Marijuana, .@GovHerbert.— TheJazzyUte (@TheJazzyUte) January 22, 2016
Why would the usually moderate-toned Herbert go off the deep end and say that? If you’re gonna go the Crüe route, why not reference the more chill “Home Sweet Home”?
On Friday, the Utah House Democratic Caucus emailed a missive with Representatives Mark Wheatley and Sandra Hollins’ response to the comment.
Representative Wheatley said, “This kind of insensitive remark from the top elected official in our state is completely unacceptable. I have worked with the Governor many times before, but for him to mock both an entire group of people based on their language and those who are sick and dying and in need of alternative treatment is more than careless, it’s revealing. This seemingly small slip of the tongue can and will be incredibly destructive to communities of color, like the ones I represent.”
Rep. Hollins added, “It’s simply false. It’s the kind of falsehood that you see presidential candidates flinging around just as irresponsibly. Words matter, especially when you are dealing with communities that have been historically repressed. People in my community are regularly passed up for jobs and houses because of assumed drug use, with absolutely no proof and no validity. What the governor has done, whether he realizes it or not, is point to the people in my district and say other.’”
Looks like someone has some splainin' to do.