LOS ANGELES – Mexican-American actor Richard Anthony "Cheech" Marin is slamming the Arizona immigration law as little more than an attempt to hold on to “white culture.”
“It’s ridiculous; it’s the last gasp of white culture,” he told Pop Tarts at the Los Angeles launch last week of Disney Pixar's online "World of Cars." “Reactionaries and Congress (are to blame) only because they think that's the way of getting votes. We'll stir up the rabble! If you take the Mexicans out of Arizona, Arizona is going to collapse the next day.”
But it’s not only the immigration law with which Marin takes issue. The "Up in Smoke" star would also like to see marijuana legalized.
According to Marin, President Obama is doing enough to support the fight for marijuana legalization by "not prosecuting" those who use medical marijuana, but he'd like to see the president live up to his campaign of "hope" and devote some attention to America's economic crisis.
"In (Obama's) administration, I'd like to see marijuana legalized and I'd like to see him keep working to straighten out the economy, because at the end of the day, no matter how highfalutin your philosophy is, if the economy isn't working, then the country isn't happening," Marin said.
It’s no surprise Marin is advocating the legalization of marijuana, considering he achieved international stardom for his pot-promoting antics as one half of the "Cheech & Chong" comedy duo. And now that the legalization of marijuana is becoming a very real possibility, the 64-year-old is convinced everyone else shares his passion.
"Vote! Just vote, because if everyone thinks marijuana should be legalized, it'll pass with flying colors," Marin said of Proposition 19, which would legalize the drug.
Marin believes that the drug has yet to become legal across the country due to lobbying from law enforcement officials who fear that, without it being considered a criminal offense, they will be unemployed. And anyone who opposes the recreational use of his favorite herb?
"Don't do it, don't vote! It's a democratic process, and nobody is forcing marijuana down anybody's throats, and nobody is forcing beer down anybody's throat,” he said. “They can go and have a beer or martini, so I should be able to smoke a joint if I want one.”
In a report authored by the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, reliable scientific research has concluded that driving while under the influence of pot impairs vision and slows reaction time. But unlike alcohol detection, law enforcement currently lacks the technology to accurately determine offenders.
And while Marin doesn’t advocate driving while smoking, he says he should be able to enjoy it at home if he wants.
“If I want to sit home and smoke a joint and play guitar or watch TV, I should be able to do that,” he said.
Deidre Behar contributed to this report.