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Pot tolerance: Obama says marijuana 'same as alcohol or cigarettes'

Published time: January 20, 2014 16:14
Edited time: January 21, 2014 12:59
U.S. President Barack Obama (Reuters / Jason Reed)

U.S. President Barack Obama (Reuters / Jason Reed)

President Obama has come to the defense of pot smokers, saying that marijuana is no more dangerous than cigarettes or alcohol, and that people arrested for smoking marijuana should not be jailed, particularly poor kids who lack legal defense.

“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 said in an interview with David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker magazine.

Obama weighed in on the issue after the state of New York announced it was ready to join 20 other US states in permitting the medical use of marijuana, while in the states of Colorado and Washington marijuana has been fully legalized for recreational use. Despite this, the US federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the US till classifies marijuana as a dangerous “Schedule One” substance, equivalent to heroin or ecstasy.

Obama went even further, saying that “in terms of its impact on the individual customer” cannabis is less harmful than alcohol, with a reservation that “it’s not something I encourage.” At the same time, he said that he had warned his daughters against using marijuana because “it's a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.”

Obama expressed his approval of the US Justice Department’s stance in promising to focus on the prosecution of drug dealers, instead of individual drug users.

“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,” Obama said. He added it was “important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”

The US president also acknowledged that in his opinion, youngsters belonging to ethnic minorities are arrested and imprisoned for using marijuana disproportionately.

“Middle-class kids don't get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,” Obama said. “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.”

But Obama said he was well aware of the dangers that further legalization of drug use might bring.

“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 said. “If somebody says, ‘We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn’t going to kill you or rot our teeth,’ are we OK with that?”

Comments (66)


Hemp Share 19.05.2014 18:07

Fortunately for us, Obama isn't the authority on Pot, Alcohol, nor Cigarettes. The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report of 1895 found that both Alcohol & Tobacco are harmful in moderation, and more harmful when abused. Pot (Indian Hemp) was found to not be addictive, nor harmful when used in moderation, and the side-effects most often associated with pot use are actually attributed to the abuse. We do realize the politicians are merely scripting "Plausible Deniability" for the history books to avoid being prosecuted for neglect.


Dan Faster 18.05.2014 23:18

[quote name='Kim' time='20.01.2014 18:19']

The destabilizing effect drugs has on individuals, families, communities and society as a whole, that's what.

Prosc ribing anything, from drunk driving to consuming and distributing psychotropic drugs, to murder to you name it, provides a barrier or a deterrent, to the free flow of these behaviors to those who do enjoy them. It also marginalizes these behaviors. Do we really want to declare these acceptable in a civilized society?
[/quote ]

I guess your havents heard of alcohol and its negative effects for how long now?


Dan Faster 18.05.2014 23:07

Imagine sending clouds with SUPER CONCENTRATED DMT over the congress the house ill repute CIA NSA FBI _LAX oh wait that an airport.
And especially Mr. Obamas bedroom and then play loud music from a billion watt amp and BOSE 901 speakers 1000 of em from a helicopter we could borrow from the Patagonians for a few hrs.
CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE at 330am spotlights shining down into the house of ill repute with 100,000,0000,0000 candle power
I wonder if he would assume as he peed the bed? Invasion of like Martians or something? Terror Martians its those damned TERROR Martians. Now I’m peeing TTYL bye.

View all comments (66)
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