Bill Maher High-Fives Biden for Marijuana Pardons: Pot-Smokers ‘Do Show Up to Vote’

Plus, the “Real Time” host asks Chris Christie why Republicans have a “hard-on for pot”

Bill Maher marijuana

Bill Maher got into his favorite topic – weed, to be specific – right out of the gate on Friday night’s “Real Time,” applauding President Joe Biden’s pardon of those incarcerated for simple possession of marijuana, while also getting into a heated debate with Chris Christie about Republicans who have a “hard-on for pot.”

As expected, Maher gave a high-five – with emphasis on “high” – to Biden for granting thousands of pardons to marijuana smokers convicted of federal charges of pot possession.

“This is very smart because a lot of people in this country, I don’t know who they are, I don’t know any of them, but a lot of people do smoke pot, and they do show up to vote. Not on the right day, but they do show,” Maher said in his opening monologue. And for all the ageists out there who think Biden is too old for the job, Maher pointed out that Uncle Joe was the man who made it happen. “Yes. The old president. Credit to him because Joe really doesn’t know anything about pot. He thinks THC is that channel that chose the old movies.”

The opening wasn’t Maher’s only stab at the topic Friday night. He also got into it with one of his guests, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who didn’t support legislation decriminalizing cannabis when he was in office.

“Why do you have this hard-on for pot?” he asked, looking at Christie.

The Republican tossed back his own double-entendre: “I don’t have it just for pot,” he answered with a grin, setting off roaring laughter from the audience.

Christie explained: “My view in it from the quote you read at the time was that I was not going to permit it to be a recreational legal drug in New Jersey. I didn’t permit it to be. And now we have a new guy [that] came after me and he permitted it. Am I like standing in the corner holding my breath saying, ‘I can’t believe you did that?’ No. He gets to make the judgments now. He made the call.”

On Thursday, Biden announced that he has pardoned all U.S. citizens and legal residents who have federal convictions for simple possession of marijuana. (Meaning, people who were not charged with intent to distribute.) This could potentially affect at least 6,000 people. He also urged state governors to do the same for people convicted at the state level.

He went one step further, directing Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra and Attorney General Merrick Garland “to initiate the process of reviewing how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.” The federal government currently considers cannabis a schedule I drug, meaning, it is both dangerously addictive and of no medical value. This puts cannabis in the same category as heroin — but not fentanyl, which is schedule II.

In 2105, Maher called on then-President Barack Obama to do exactly what Biden did: pardon those incarcerated for marijuana offenses, making note at the time that three presidents – Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — all admitted to having smoked pot, as has Ted Cruz, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin.

“Come on, man, you’ve gone down the list with reversing the stupidities of the past,” he in a “New Rules” segment on “Real Time.” “Lincoln, a Republican, pardoned the Southern rebels after the Civil War; (Gerald) Ford, a Republican, pardoned Vietnam draft dodgers; Ronald Reagan signed an amnesty for 2.7 million Mexican illegals. If Republicans can forgive people for armed insurrection, desertion and speaking Spanish, a Democrat can forgive us for getting high.”

Maher, a California medical marijuana card-holder, has publicly used cannabis for more than two decades, has been a visible supporter of cannabis law reform and is on the advisory board of NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project.