Obama: Pot is not more dangerous than alcohol

President says he is troubled at disproportionate number of arrests and imprisonments of minorities for marijuana use
Associated Press
Jan 19, 2014

President Barack Obama said he doesn't think marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol, "in terms of its impact on the individual consumer."

"As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don't think it is more dangerous than alcohol," the president said an interview with "The New Yorker" magazine.

Smoking marijuana is "not something I encourage, and I've told my daughters I think it's a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy," Obama said.

Obama's administration has given states permission to experiment with marijuana regulation, and laws recently passed in Colorado and Washington legalizing marijuana recently went into effect. The president said it was important for the legalization of marijuana to go forward in those states to avoid a situation in which only a few are punished while a large portion of people have broken the law at one time or another.

The president said he is troubled at the disproportionate number of arrests and imprisonments of minorities for marijuana use. "Middle-class kids don't get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do," he said. "And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties."

He said in the interview that users shouldn't be locked up for long stretches of time when people writing drug laws "have probably done the same thing."

But Obama urged a cautious approach to changing marijuana laws, saying that people who think legalizing pot will solve social problems are "probably overstating the case."

"And the experiment that's going to be taking place in Colorado and Washington is going to be, I think, a challenge," the president said.

Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance praised Obama's words, saying his use of the word "important" about the new Colorado and Washington laws "really puts the wind in the sails of the movement to end marijuana prohibition.

Critics of the new laws raise concerns about public health and law enforcement, asking whether wide availability of the drug will lead to more underage drug use, more cases of driving while high and more crime.

 

Comments

beepx22

I wanna be first to say "Choom Gang"

Darwin's choice

President Pothead!!!!

beepx22

And follow up by saying. Why not legalize it is probably safer than drinking and most prescription drugs

From the Grave

I just feel like people have convinced themselves that pot is totally safe and even good for you, and that isn't necessarily true, depending on the user. Anything that alters your perception of the world is dangerous and potentially addictive. But the tax money will be awesome!

Ned Mandingo

legalize it and outlaw alcohol

Cowboy

How the heck does he know? Is he a chemist now?

themomx6

So the POTUS just admitted he broke the law? ;)

From the Grave

Good company name, of course~PotUS.

oldskool

I try not to comment much on here, but this is the most ignorant statement yet and I just can't resist! just wait until the crime rate goes up in those states! wait until the accidents start climbing! anyone that believes that marijuana wont lead to another more harsh drug is stupid! However, for the occasional smoker of a joint or two a week, ok I guess if that is what you want to do! However, when there are those dumb people out there that smoke 5 a day, everyday, well lets just say they are the ones that are going to ruin it for you occasional users!!! But yet smokers aren't suppose to smoke, but marijuana - well that's ok! lol lol oh that's right, don't smoke marijuana - eat it!!! lol lol

mikeylikesit

it's already going on everyday. I don't see how making marijuana legal would increase crime. I don't believe that "gateway drug" nonsense either. I tried marijuana, found out on my own that it's not as bad as I was told. I tried other drugs too, after wondering if I was lied to about these as well. it might be a good idea to stick with the truth when talking to kids about drugs, as well as all things..

vicariouslyAlive

i like how in one sentence you say that you don't believe that pot is a gateway drug but then in the next sentence you say that after trying pot you tried other drugs... you sound like a very competent person to be listening to at the moment. smooth move.

beepx22

Friends I've lost to weed: 0. Friends I've lost to opioids pain killers : 10 +/- 1. Friends I've lost to alcohol including DUI 5 +/- 1

Restless1

You sure know how to pick friends.

From the Grave

Where the friends you lost to other drugs NOT using pot as well?

mikeylikesit

no, valium was my first love, love..

vicariouslyAlive

So then it would stand that pot isn't the only gateway drug. Drugs are gateway drugs. Try one then then another. Pot is just the most easily accessible for the most part. And since drugs leads to drugs, its the most prominent gateway drug.

And trying to say "well, at least its not as bad as cocaine or method is like saying beer is less harmful than liquor." A substance of dependency is a substance of dependency.... all it is is switching seats on the titanic. No matter which one you pick you're still going down.

From the Grave

Sugar leads to sweeter stuff.

Aeres

I would call myself a heavy user of marijuana. I smoke every day multiple times. Never on the job and never behind the wheel. I work 50 plus hours per week. Ive never been in trouble with the law. I pay my taxes as everyone else does. The only worse drug I've used is alcohol. Explain to me please how I'm a lowlife who puts others at risk for my "bad habit." By the nature of your statement here I've come to the conclusion that you are the ignorant one. Educate yourself before further making a fool of yourself please.

ladydye_5

WOW. Don't have random drug screens?

Babo

Aeres is probably a prosecutor or a judge. No wait they don't work 50 hours a week. :)

SamAdams

You're going to be in for a surprise, oldskool, if that's the kind of thing you're expecting. Unless, of course, you think that Americans are so different from people everywhere else in the world...

In other places, crime has gone DOWN. That's mostly because there's no longer any need for people to smuggle, transport, distribute, etc. on the sly.

You're also doing a real disservice to yourself and others by repeating the old saw that marijuana use leads to the use of harsher drugs. The "study" that "proved" marijuana to be a gateway drug has been debunked. Repeatedly and thoroughly.

observer

From the stupid decisions he's made, I'd say Obama ''inhaled'' quite a bit back in the day! Lol

Dinghy Gal

Leave it to Obama to turn it into a racial issue.

123abc456

I agree. I am so sick of everyone wanted to give "minorities" a break because they are poor. So fvcking what! I'm poor and nobody gives me a fvcking break! I'd be glad to get some free cash, free rent, free phone, free internet, free car, ect. ect.

deertracker

Why do some of you refuse to recognize facts? Everything the President said is 100% factual.

swiss cheese kat

'If you like your health care plan, you can keep it'

deertracker

Do you like your healthcare? Did you keep it? If there was a better and cheaper plan would you switch? He did not LIE! Move on!

JMOP

I guess he's comparing it to his cocaine use.

MiddleRight

Said Barak Obama, M.D.

MiddleRight

Said Barak Obama, M.D.

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