Earlier this morning, a Boston court found 21-year old Robel Phillipos guilty on two counts of lying to federal agents during the days following last year’s Boston bombing. Phillipos was taking the semester off from the University of Massachusetts last spring when he returned to campus one April night to attend a seminar. The dude could not have picked a worse time to visit.
That evening, Phillipos found himself in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dorm room, where Tsarnaev, the FBI’s key bombing suspect, was unloading his computer, fireworks, and other potential evidence from his backpack. Phillipos attended high school with Tsarnaev, and seemingly did not know that the evening’s low-key, pot-smoking chill session with Tsarnaev and his friend Dias Kadyrbayev was part of an intricate plan to conceal Tsarnaev’s act of terror against the U.S.
According to his lawyers, this was because Phillipos was high as fuck. Here’s a quick explanation of their defense from the New York Times:
F.B.I. agents testified that Mr. Phillipos lied to them about the night of April 18, 2013, before acknowledging that he had been in Mr. Tsarnaev’s room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth when the backpack and computer were removed.
Defense lawyers said Mr. Phillipos was a frightened 19-year-old who was intimidated by the F.B.I. and too high on marijuana to clearly remember what he did that night. The defense called several friends who said Mr. Phillipos smoked marijuana a half-dozen times that day.
Thankfully for stoners everywhere, the jury didn’t buy it, and Phillipos is going to jail now, where the dank smell of herb will be replaced by the equally dank smell of unwashed balls. It’s a sign that there’s growing recognition that weed doesn’t really fuck you up that bad (despite what Maureen Dowd might say); that stupid people do stupid shit, regardless of how much weed they’ve supposedly smoked. Clearly, Phillipos’ defense lawyers have an outdated understanding of both the frequency in which marijuana is often used and the severity of its effects. Many Americans smoke weed six times a day. Most Americans don’t collaborate with terrorists.
Even if he didn’t know all the details about what was happening in that dorm room, Phillipos knew damn well that weed didn’t make him float into oblivion as he watched his old friend stash away post-attack memorabilia. If that was true, he must have discovered the best weed ever. And as any Californian knows, the best weed ever isn’t available in Massachusetts.
I’m sure Phillpos was freaked out during his FBI interviews–because of his connection to Tsarnaev, not because of cannabis. At a moment when states like Washington and Coloardo are struggling to establish a new culture around legalized weed (while fending off neo-reefer-madness buffoonery), chronic chronic-abuser Phillipos should be thought of as Stoner Enemy Number One, abandoning his social stoner responsibility in order to take on the language of the anti-kush oppressors and lobby for his own innocence.