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Obama says marijuana ‘no more dangerous than alcohol’

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WASHINGTON (CNN) — Marijuana, which is still placed in the same category as heroin, ecstasy and psychedelic mushrooms by the federal government, is no more dangerous than alcohol, President Barack Obama said in an interview published Sunday.

Speaking to New Yorker editor David Remnick, Obama said he still viewed pot smoking negatively – but that on the whole, the drug wasn’t the social ill that it’s been viewed as in the past.

“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,” Obama told the weekly magazine.

The president said pot was actually less dangerous that alcohol “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.”

“It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy,” he said.

Two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized recreational marijuana use. Another 18, along with the District of Columbia, allow some legal pot use, primarily for medicinal purposes. But when it comes to federal law, marijuana remains a schedule 1 controlled substance — a drug with high potential for abuse but no accepted medical use — and the White House has said that Obama doesn’t support changing that status.

Instead, Obama said in the New Yorker interview that he’s focused on making laws that treat users fairly.

“We should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing,” he told Remnick.

In August, Obama’s Justice Department announced it would not challenge legalization in Colorado and Washington, and instead focus federal enforcement on trafficking cases and preventing pot from getting in the hands of kids. Prosecutors are now required to focus on distinct enforcement priorities that also include preventing driving while high and forbidding the cultivation of marijuana on public lands.

In the New Yorker, Obama said Colorado and Washington’s laws were “important” since they decriminalized a commonly used substance. But he also said the laws could raise questions for other illegal substances.

“If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka, are we open to that?” Obama wondered. “If somebody says, We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn’t going to kill you or rot your teeth, are we O.K. with that?”

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    • athynz

      True – but even a broken clock can be right twice a day. I’m for the legalization of weed but right now I want to see how Washington State and Colorado handle this – so far with the acceptance of food stamps for weed it’s not looking good.

  • byGeorge

    Consider Obama mentally ill, self obsessed, inept, and unable, as
    Most Intelligent, to government under his Constitutional Law training.

  • walter white

    I’m in no way an Obama supporter but in one day in Colorado they sold 1 million dollars worth raising over $270,000 dollars for schools and such. So maybe they are on to something. And alcohol is worse then pot if you don’t think so do you live under a rock?

  • Dr. Emmett Brown

    I wonder how he has time to worry about pot, with one imaginary son he won’t let play pro football and another imaginary son who got shot.

  • byGeorge

    So there are no ill affects of “smoking” pot, no dangers of second hand “smoke” from pot, no costs of “smoking” pot upon the tax payers and health systems? Cigarettes = PC BAD; Pot = PC GOOD???
    Has he consulted with his minion, Tim Kaine, on the effects of “smoking”
    or with the American Lung and Cancer Associations?
    Seems like more PC set up to suit and for their favorited, again..
    Would love to hear from Former VA Governor, Tim Kaine, on this Obama Issue of “Smoking” and his former Strong Stand Against It. Media? PC is Correct-Mess.

  • byGeorge

    Obama’s precedence is to LIE, and contradict SELF, and preference
    for everything Illegal and dangerous, without any Most Intelligent
    thought for Laws, Constitution, or legislated form of US Governance,
    Congress, or Citizens to enable Obama for Obama.

  • Rva2day

    Pot has never killed anyone at least not immediately, but smoke of any kind will cause health issues. Even if the smoke is a steak on the grill. Pot has never been the cause of child/spousal abuse, poisoning, organ failure, fatal car accidents, or irrational angry bar fights. There are enough facts to provide evidence that alcohol definitely is WAY more dangerous that pot. And if you don’t see that you are probably 2 sheets to the wind, as they say.

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