On January 20, 2015, CAN-DO sent a package to Bill Maher begging him to address the lack of Presidential clemencies for drug offenders, especially people serving time for pot on his show. This was the second time CAN-DO founder Amy Ralston Povah asked Maher to address the power of presidential pardons – or lack thereof. The first was in 2013 when she handed him a CAN-DO newsletter and explained that she was a clemency recipient under President Clinton, and added that President Obama had a “stingy record.” Maher smiled, said he was happy she had been freed and was trying to help others, but added, “I don’t think I’ll be talking to him any time soon.” Without hesitation, Amy said, “No, but you can talk about it on your show.”
But Amy knows about persistence and decided to fed ex a package last January that also contained her award winning film, 420-The Documentary, alerting Maher to the fact there were four (fair use) clips from Real Time with Bill Maher in the film. There is no doubt the film and letter made an impression. The result was an amazing 5:20 rant wherein Maher embodied the centerpiece of the 420 film and made the same case we’ve been preaching for years. It’s time for our leaders, who engaged in “youthful indiscretions” when they were young, to end this disastrous drug war that is wreaking havoc upon our youth with a policy that would have destroyed their own careers if they had been arrested. But he also made Amy’s dream come true. He slammed it at the end by challenging President Obama to use his executive powers and FREE ALL NON-VIOLENT DRUG OFFENDERS, using examples of previous mass clemencies (by Republican presidents) to drive his point home.
THANK YOU BILL MAHER for your willingness to champion this cause. We salute you for embracing the CAN-DO message – “Justice through clemency!”