Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (2014–…): Season 4, Episode 7 - Episode #4.7 - full transcript

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Season IV
Episode 7

Welcome to Last Week Tonight.
I'm John Oliver.

Thank you for joining us.
A quick recap of the week.

We begin with the investigation
of Donald Trump and Russia,

a scandal we've been referring
to as "Stupid Watergate",

it has all the potential
consequences of Watergate

but everyone involved
is stupid.

The news centered
on Congressman Devin Nunes,

the most Devin Devin
in the history of Devins.

His parents wanted
something else,

but the birth certificate
wrote "Devin" on itself.

Last week he made headlines
with a seemingly huge claim.

Devin Nunes
dropped a bombshell today.

He said Trump's transition team and
president's personal communications

may have been caught up in,
quote, incidental surveillance.

That sounded like it could
back up Trump's claims

that Obama wiretapped him,
but it unraveled,

as Nunes conceded
the surveillance was routine,

appeared to be legal,
occurred after the election

and may not have targeted
Trump or his transition team,

but rather foreign individuals
discussing the transition.

Trump claimed the evidence left him
feeling "somewhat vindicated".

Trump feels vindicated
by dubious sources all the time.

We don't need to invest
in clean energy.

It says on this cup that
"America Runs On Dunkin'".

There were many questions
surrounding Nunes,

who looks like the guy a 13-year-old
wishes her mom would stop dating.

Why did he raced to the White House
to share his information with Trump ?

Especially in the light
of this revelation.

New York Times reported White House
officials were the source of reports

given to House intelligence chair
Devin Nunes.

Devin took what appears to be
an unnecessary trip

to tell what appears to be
unimportant news

to what may have been
the source of the news itself.

What Nunes brought to light
has turned out to be smoke and mirrors

as convoluted as it is pointless,
the "Now You See Me" of revelations.

Stupid Watergate found a way
to get even stupider:

the surveillance Nunes studied
concerned Trump's team,

of which one member was
Devin fucking Nunes.

Which seems like
a conflict of interest.

It was important for Republicans
to make clear

how independent he is
from the White House.

They couldn't do that properly.

Keep in mind who he works for.
He answers to the president.

- Or for constituents of his district ?
- You do both.

No !
You absolutely do not !

You do one of them
and explicitly not the other.

That's the whole point of Congress.

That is why this
story is Stupid Watergate:

it could take down the government,
nobody involved understands why

or how to cover it up or what
the government fucking is,

or possibly how to breathe without
getting regular reminders.

So for now, let's move on
to the United Kingdom:

whose most beloved children's book
is about a child who thinks

a bear with an eating disorder
and a depressed donkey talk to him.

It has been almost a year since
the UK voted to leave EU.

The process of doing that
began Wednesday.

In accordance with
the wishes of the British people,

the UK is leaving the EU.

This is an historic moment from
which there can be no turning back.

The electricity
in that room is palpable.

Even her phrasing is ominous:

"a historic moment from which
there can be no turning back"

could apply to getting
a Limp Bizkit tattoo

or the moment after your
cult drank their suicide potions.

The UK has now initiated
Article 50 of the EU treaty,

triggering a two-year
negotiating process,

leading up to a withdrawal
from the EU in March of 2019.

We're facing 24 months
of promising to pull out,

or as Sting calls it,
a one night stand.

This process was initiated
by delivering a letter

to the president
of the European Council,

which began:
"Dear President Tusk."

Which should be the start of a letter
you write to a walrus president,

but it was a breakup letter to
an actual person named Donald Tusk,

who seemed
understandably devastated.

There's no reason to pretend
that this is a happy day,

neither in Brussels
nor in London.

What can I add to this ?
We already miss you.

Thank you and goodbye.

Come on, Tuskie !
Don't be sad !

If it helps, you will get over Britain.
If you ever find yourself missing it,

stare at this picture of an angry
old woman in a racist t-shirt

eating beans on toast in the rain,
that is what you are leaving behind.

Although, not everybody was
gloomy about the news this week.

Take Nigel Farage,
former UKIP leader

and current spokesmodel
for Smug Dickhead moisturizer,

the moisturizer that gives you
that smug dickhead glow.

He was absolutely thrilled.

Today's the day,
after 25 years of campaigning,

that the impossible dream
came true, I'm delighted.

That is horrible. Because every time
one of Farage's dreams come true,

somewhere in the world,
an angel gets diarrhea.

Never mind leaving, it is going to be
hard for UK to keep itself together.

This vote divided
the British public.

BBC illustrated this division with
a not entirely dignified visual aid.

How does our jury feel
about triggering Article 50 ?

We gave them emoji paddles: happy,
unhappy, or worried and confused.

Please vote now.

Four happy, three worried,
one unhappy.

Our jury and Britain is divided on its
reaction to triggering of Article 50.

I know that looks stupid, but
British are so emotionally repressed,

emojis are the best way to get
a coherent sentiment out of us.

It's pretty much that
or baking competitions.

Let this Victorian sponge cake
say what I never can.

I'm collapsing inside.

And with that in mind,
I'm really struggling to find the words

for how difficult and depressing
the next years will be.

So if I may try in emoji form:
Europe is feeling Crying Kitty Cat,

while Nigel Farage has a full,
throbbing Eggplant.

I am hovering between
Crying Face and Handgun,

because it seems our best-case
scenario is to just Pray emoji

that this does not turn
into a Flaming Pile of Shit.

And now, this.

Another look at the awkward
sex talk on CBS This Morning.

If I pinched your butt,
would you call the police ?

The answer is no.
I'll answer for you, Mr. Rose.

Would you pinch my butt,
is the question.

- We're pro-love.
- Pro-love, yes we are.

- The news is back and so is love.
- Love and sex are here.

You just went there.

You should see what I'm wearing
underneath this dress.

You should see what Charlie
wears underneath his shirt.

- It's getting hot in here ?
- Norah knows.

Ain't nothing shrinking
about Charlie Rose.

Brain ain't shrinking. I can tell
you something else, but I'm not.

You want me to just be
around you more ?

- I can do that.
- I could get more done.

I love you.

What time should Gayle
and I come over tonight ?

Do you want us to bring anything
or will dinner be served ?

You remember the answer last year ?
It was bring your sister !

You need to go on a boat
with Mr. Charlie Rose.

- I'm game.
- Me, too.

This is why I'm the luckiest man
in the world, right here.

Moving on. Our main story
tonight concerns marijuana.

catnip for people.

It has gained increasing
acceptance in recent years.

One bright spot on Election Night
was pro-marijuana referenda

passing in eight states.

It's official !

A big win for lovers of weed.

We are really excited. This is a huge
victory, not just for Californians,

but for the country
and the world.

Everybody here
should be excited.

It's weird that those celebrations

happened the same night
that Trump was elected.

It's like celebrating
your baseball team winning

on the deck
of the sinking Titanic.

Bit of a mixed bag today,
but still: go Sox, Yankees suck !

44 states now have some form
of medical marijuana law,

and eight have laws
allowing recreational use.

The War on Drugs was futile,

and imposed harsh penalties
on African-Americans,

who police data suggest are over
four times more likely

to be arrested
for marijuana possession.

White people are a million times more
likely to be shocked by that statistic.

And this is clearly
no longer a fringe issue.

In 1969, a Gallup poll showed
12 percent favored legalization.

Today it's 60 percent.

Marijuana is something we've just
all gradually decided is okay.

Like Mark Wahlberg
as a serious actor.

You know what... sure.
I've decided I'm fine with that.

But the legality of marijuana
is more fraught than you may think.

If you have marijuana now,

even if you are acting legally
according to your state,

you may still be
in serious jeopardy.

And that's not your
weed-induced paranoia talking.

You could lose your home,
job or possessions, Greg.

I'm freaking the shit out of
any stoned viewer named Greg.

That is not a bad thing, this story
is worth worrying about.

Let's begin with going back to why
marijuana is so heavily regulated.

It was legal at the start
of the 20th century,

but anti-drug hysteria, fueled by
racist stereotypes about who used it,

led to it being gradually
outlawed around the country.

It was Richard Nixon, the Mozart
of racially motivated lawmaking,

who targeted it
in his War on Drugs,

for reasons that he was open about,
in conversations he recorded.

Every one of the bastards that are out
for legalizing marijuana is Jewish.

What is the matter with the Jews,
Bob, what is the matter with them ?

I suppose because
most of them are psychiatrists,

all the greatest
psychiatrists are Jewish.

By God we are going to hit
the marijuana thing

and I want to hit it
right square in the puss.

Yes. Quick historical footnote:
you know who he's talking to there ?

Billy Bush. Yeah. Turns out
people open up to that guy !

Always have.

Nixon signed the Controlled
Substances Act in 1970

and it's still in effect.

Marijuana is classified
as a Schedule I drug,

the highest classification
alongside heroin.

Schedule II, a step down, features
cocaine and methamphetamine.

Marijuana is not a Schedule I

any more than a hedgehog
is an apex predator.

You're not scaring anyone, Rolland.
Get a tattoo.

But that federal law is constantly
clashing with new state laws.

Legal marijuana businesses have
struggled to get bank accounts,

because at the federal level, they
are still seen as criminal enterprises.

If banks took their deposits, that
could be considered money laundering.

This meant that businesses
operate all-cash.

100 percent of our revenues
come in cash.

This is federal taxes
that we pay in cash.

When we pay all 12 employees,
they're getting envelopes of cash.

These are state taxes.

That is a shitty way
to be forced to do business.

On the suspicious scale,
"cash-stuffed envelopes" rank

somewhere between "unfurled
hundreds dusted in white powder"

and "a wad of damp ones containing
a single pubic hair".

If you are wondering why he was
talking about paying his taxes,

yeah, under federal tax law,
you must declare income

even if the source of it is illegal.

The tax code
even has provisions like:

"if you receive a bribe,
include it in your income"

and "if you steal property, you
must report its fair market value".

Which seems such
an obvious trap to catch criminals,

it should really be listed
on the form as:

"This is a trap.
Are you really this stupid ?"

"You're filling out a federal
form admitting guilt, you idiot."

Marijuana businesses have all the tax
liabilities of other businesses,

but what they don't get
is one major advantage.

The agency bars them from making
most normal business deductions.

You could end up with
a tax bill far more than

any potential profit
you could ever make.

You can't deduct
certain expenses.

And that can mean that you pay
double the amount of tax

that you would if you were
selling any other product.

That means the shop where
you bought your weed

might pay double
the amount paid by the shop

where you ordered
that shitty pizza, Greg.

I'm talking to you again, Greg.
This was important. Pay attention !

It is not just businesses facing
difficulties. It's customers, too.

Look at Brandon Coats, paralyzed from
a car accident as a teenager.

He had a prescription
for medical marijuana,

but he was fired from his job
after he failed a drug test.

What was it like for you
when they said:

"we don't want you to work
here anymore" ?

It was devastating. It's hard enough
for somebody like me to get a job.

People probably don't think
that I can do what I can.

Did you think, because you had
a medical marijuana card,

that you had license
to go ahead and use it ?

I was under the impression

that we had passed a law
and that we had made it legal.

It's understandable he thought
he was doing nothing wrong.

The state had given him a license
to use medical marijuana legally,

and yet he got fired anyway.

Couldn't turn to the Americans
with Disabilities Act, a federal law,

and it doesn't protect marijuana use,
all of which is frustrating.

That's like driving
exactly the speed limit

and getting pulled over
by a cop:

Sorry, the federal
speed limit is three

and the legal age to drive is 62
and also you have to be drunk.

Surprise !
You're fucking under arrest now.

Even if you are only dealing with
your government at the state level,

decades of enforcing anti-drug laws
can result in officials making mistakes

as two Michigan parents,

one who treated his epileptic seizures
with marijuana, discovered in 2013.

Steve and Maria Green
watched as their infant daughter

was taken from their care.

The state-sanctioned medical
marijuana users' home

was too dangerous
because of the plants inside.

It would place our residence
at a higher rate of armed robbery

and therefore was an imminent
danger for my child to be removed.

That is absurd.

If you have valuable items in your
home, we might take your children.

That is gonna add some excitement
to "The Price Is Right" from now.

I want that entertainment
center, but I love my kids.

Sorry Tommy, Daddy's going
for the plasma screen !

It's a dream, son,
a dream of mine !

Some will say:

"the medical efficacy of marijuana
needs a lot more study".

And that is true. The problem is,
it's very difficult to do that,

because federal laws
are standing in the way.

To study marijuana, you need approval
from three different federal agencies,

which can take years.

One scientist was forced
to wait six years

to begin studying its effects on
PTSD, which is a long time.

I wouldn't blame her
if she'd just said:

I'm studying "does chocolate during sex
help red wine make you lose weight ?"

At least that way I'll get
to go on 'The Today Show !

If you are conducting a federally
approved study on marijuana,

you can only get it from one place.

Dr. Mahmoud Elsohly oversees

the University of Mississippi's
marijuana project.

Its mission: to aid law enforcement
and produce pot for federal study,

mostly related to addiction.

You're the government's
sole producer of marijuana.

It's true. The sole source of
government-sanctioned marijuana

is that guy,
at the University of Mississippi.

Update your stereotypes about
the University of Mississippi,

which I believe is the official slogan
of the University of Mississippi.

While researchers wait for marijuana
to study whether it helps with PTSD,

plenty of veterans will
tell you: it does.

Danny Belcher, a Vietnam vet
who'd been prescribed

for pain and depression,

but, as he told
the Kentucky legislature in 2014,

he found that when he tried marijuana,
it started really helping him.

I do have my bowl
of pot in my house,

and if I wake up at night,
had a nightmare,

when I'm ringing wet
with sweat...

And I see Kramer, his dead body.
Rodriguez, his dead body.

If that nightmare gets so bad
I can't wake up

and realize it's just a nightmare,
I will light that pipe up,

I'll be a criminal,
I'll go back to sleep.

My next morning, I will
get up at 6 o'clock like I always do,

my four days a week
I go to the gym, I run.

I help other veterans.

I couldn't do that if I was on
the drugs VA had me on.

So for all the talk you hear of
marijuana being a "gateway drug",

in his case, that gateway
led to peaceful sleep,

rigorous exercise
and community service.

Pretty nice fucking gate,
it turns out.

Nice one to walk through
if you get the chance.

You may've noticed he said
he's acting like a criminal.

Which is a little odd, because
Kentucky has a medical marijuana law.

But the shortcomings of that law
touch on many of the reasons

why "legal marijuana" can
be a bit of a grey area.

Kentucky's law only applies
to one marijuana product,

and it requires a "written order"
or a prescription.

That is a real problem,
because under federal law,

it is technically illegal for a doctor
to write you a prescription.

So most states,
they get around that

by calling for a recommendation
or a certification doctors give you.

But even if Kentucky's law did that,
if Danny went to his doctors,

they couldn't give him anything,
because they're a federal hospital.

Federal policy prohibits VA doctors
from even recommending marijuana,

regardless of the state law
and of their medical opinion.

Which again,
is a bit weird.

A doctor shouldn't be ignored
because he recommends marijuana,

but because he is televised.

We all agree on that.
We're on the same page on that one.

It gets worse. Even if
Danny had a private doctor

and Kentucky rewrote its law,
where would he get marijuana from ?

Kentucky's law also neglected

to set up any system for
legal marijuana distribution.

He'd have to obtain it
from somewhere else.

But where would he do that ?
And how ?

He could have it shipped, right ?
That would be a federal crime.

What if he flew to a state
where marijuana is legal

and brought it to Kentucky ?

No, again.
That is also a federal crime.

Could he drive to a neighboring state
to get what he needs ?

No, two of those states have
prohibitions on marijuana

and the rest don't currently
recognize out-of-state patients.

If you are thinking,
could he train a carrier pigeon

to carry the pot from Colorado ?

Yes, that's a good idea
and "cool bird" stamp.

But as a practical
matter there, no.

Because it's illegal
and because you know

the bird will eat it on the way,
stop flying, and spend the night

giggling about how owls seem
like they have glasses but, like,

don't have glasses.

And that's crazy, right ?

They don't know,
but it's there right ?

If you live in Kentucky,
despite there being a law

that gives access
to medical marijuana,

there's virtually no legal way
for you to get it.

Things improved toward
the end of the Obama administration,

because his general attitude
was this.

We have federal laws that classify
marijuana as a illegal substance,

but we're not gonna spend
resources trying to turn back

decisions that have been made
at the state level.

His attitude to pot was:

"I'm not gonna hassle you over
this, unless you make me."

The same policy as a security guard
at a Dave Matthews concert.

And his administration issued
guidelines in that spirit.

By the end of his term, it was easier
to study marijuana

and for dispensaries
to get bank accounts.

Those guidelines weren't permanent.
And that could be a real problem.

Because our new attorney general
is Jeff Sessions,

the concept of golf
expressed in man-form,

and he has been pretty clear
where he stands on marijuana.

This is not a non-dangerous drug.

This drug is dangerous.
You cannot play with it.

It's not something to laugh about.
Trying to send the message with clarity

that good people
don't smoke marijuana.

Lady Gaga said she's addicted to it
and it is not harmless.

But Lady Gaga also said:

"Men and women
deserve to love each other equally",

and: "touch me in the dark, put
your hands all over my body parts"

so Jeff, if you're going
to live according to Gaga quotes,

accept the entire canon.

I'm not saying there shouldn't be laws
that place sensible restrictions,

but our federal laws desperately
need to be brought up to date.

There is no clearer sense

of how establishment
that view is becoming than this.

The cannabis caucus is a bipartisan
effort to protect state marijuana laws

and blow out outdated
federal prohibitions on weed.

These are the guys pushing
for legalized pot in Congress.

There is now
a Cannabis Caucus in D.C.

and it's co-chaired
by these four narcs.

If even an 83-year-old Republican
has come around on this issue,

then it's time
for our laws to catch up.

One bill proposed just this week
would remove marijuana

from the controlled substances act
and officially re-name the ATF

the "bureau of alcohol, tobacco,
marijuana, firearms and explosives".

Just get all the awesome stuff
together in one place.

Why not keep going and make it:
the bureau of alcohol, tobacco,

marijuana, firearms, explosives,
monster trucks, motorcycle jumps

and sick-ass leather jackets
with tigers on them.

And by the way: that jacket
is even sicker in person.

This is my jacket !
This was me this morning !

This is
an actual $6 000 Gucci jacket

and for anyone stupid enough
to buy one of these,

it's worthless now !

I just made your jacket uncool
and worthless by wearing it !

That bill is just one proposal.

Fixing this is a huge undertaking,
marijuana laws affect everything

from environmental regulations
to international treaties.

We should also go back and expunge
records of people convicted

of low-level marijuana
offenses in the past.

I know is a lot of work, which is
why we should start now.

I would argue
that it is absolutely worth it,

for people like Brandon Coats
and for people like Danny Belcher

and perhaps most of all, for Greg,

who has been freaking
the fuck out this whole time.

I can see you, Greg.
And I can hear your thoughts.

And now, this.

27 seconds of the breakfast-time
foreplay that is CBS This Morning.

Can I do a little bit
of the Marilyn Monroe ?

- Can I go over to you ?
- Yes.

Happy birthday Charlie Rose.
You're too cooperative.

Watch the hands,
he knows what he's doing.

If he puts his hands under here,
stop him.

Happy birthday to you !

And finally this week,
a quick update regarding zebras.

On our last show, we told you
about Bolivian traffic zebras,

young people in costumes who
direct cars and promote road safety.

We made the case that adding zebras
to things is always an improvement.

We even uploaded 23 minutes
of zebra footage

so you could add zebras
to whatever you wanted.

You people
really came through for us.

You took Mariah Carey New Year's Eve
disaster and improved it with zebras,

you completely filled
the White House press room with them

and you put zebras into movies like
"The Shining", "Mad Max: Fury Road".

And, naturally, "Basic Instinct".

It's nice.

Thank you so much for wasting
so much of your time with us.

The point was to make painful
moments easier to swallow.

That's why we put a zebra
into Trump's inauguration.

Someone took that to
the next logical step.

Remember Trump riding the escalator
to announce his candidacy ?

A pretty horrible memory, right ?
Get ready to have it improved.

It's better now. That doesn't
fundamentally change anything.

But it is just better now.

Adding zebras turns out to make great
moments even greater as well.

Good evening.

Tonight I can report
to the American people and to the world

that the US has conducted an operation
that killed Osama Bin Laden,

leader of Al Qaeda.

Yeah. And that is what
I will always remember now.

But the most exciting thing was
the response in Bolivia itself.

I was watching it on Sunday, Last Week
Tonight, John Oliver's program.

He starts talking about the zebras.
I thought he was only going to comment.

Suddenly he keeps talking
and talking...

I thought
he was only going to comment.

And suddenly he keeps
talking and talking.

That is an entirely
fair description of this show.

It gets one step better,

because the cebritas themselves
issued a public message.

John Oliver, we want
to invite you to La Paz, Bolivia,

to be a zebra for one day.

The mayor of our wonder city,
Luis Revilla, agrees.

The 265 zebras
are waiting in La Paz.

I know that is a friendly invitation
but there is no world in which

the phrase "265 zebras
are waiting for you in La Paz"

does not sound
like a genuine threat.

I have been invited to be a zebra.

I'm not gonna be able to do that soon,
because I have to be here.

So this is a disappointing
moment for both myself and Bolivia.

But as I think we both now know,

there is a real way to improve
moments like this.

Hit it !

It's better now !
That's our show !

Thank you so much
for watching us ! Good night !