Obama Says Marijuana Is Less Dangerous Than Alcohol

192px-President_Barack_ObamaPresident Obama opens up to David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, on a number of fronts, but perhaps most notably he says that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol (with a qualifier of course):

When I asked Obama about another area of shifting public opinion—the legalization of marijuana—he seemed even less eager to evolve with any dispatch and get in front of the issue. “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.”

Is it less dangerous? I asked.

Obama leaned back and let a moment go by. That’s one of his moves. When he is interviewed, particularly for print, he has the habit of slowing himself down, and the result is a spool of cautious lucidity. He speaks in paragraphs and with moments of revision. Sometimes he will stop in the middle of a sentence and say, “Scratch that,” or, “I think the grammar was all screwed up in that sentence, so let me start again.”

Less dangerous, he said, “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.” What clearly does trouble him is the radically disproportionate arrests and incarcerations for marijuana among minorities. “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.” But, he said, “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.” Accordingly, he said of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington that “it’s important for it to go forward because it’s 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.”

As is his habit, he nimbly argued the other side. “Having said all that, those who argue that legalizing marijuana is a panacea and it solves all these social problems I think are probably overstating the case. There is a lot of hair on that policy. And the experiment that’s going to be taking place in Colorado and Washington is going to be, I think, a challenge.” He noted the slippery-slope arguments that might arise. “I also think that, when it comes to harder drugs, the harm done to the user is profound and the social costs are profound. And you do start getting into some difficult line-drawing issues. 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? 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?”

[Read the full article at The New Yorker]


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10 Comments on "Obama Says Marijuana Is Less Dangerous Than Alcohol"

  1. Liam_McGonagle | Jan 20, 2014 at 10:15 am |

    You know why they’re doing this, don’t you? Because the true effective unemployment rate, absent for the millions who’ve taken themselves out of the market, is nearly 15%.

    What they want is for pot smokers to put themselves on the public record. That way, when the inevitable excesses are blown out of proportion, and the public backlash results in recriminalization, they have a colourable reason to flush you out of society altogether.

    Kind of like the executive orders encouraging undocumented immigrants to register. It’ll make it so much easier to find you and put you in a labor camp when a new administration takes over.

    • Rhoid Rager | Jan 20, 2014 at 10:20 am |

      Wheat from chaff–oldest trick in the book.

    • kowalityjesus | Jan 20, 2014 at 6:21 pm |

      you are on multiple lists. I guarantee it, smartypants.

    • Cortacespedes | Jan 20, 2014 at 6:43 pm |

      Yep, that 13th amendment is going to come in handy…

      • Liam_McGonagle | Jan 21, 2014 at 9:57 am |

        Thank you, Cort. I can’t tell you how much joy this simple image has given me. The text is something like a 4-word Beowulf: epic. I wish to share it with the world.

        • Cortacespedes | Jan 22, 2014 at 10:27 am |

          You’re welcome.

          The Earl of Lemongrab deserves more meme. Just doing my duty.

  2. Rhoid Rager | Jan 20, 2014 at 10:19 am |

    Obama has killed more people than weed.

  3. trompe l'oiel | Jan 20, 2014 at 11:46 am |

    *Say’s it’s unhealthy and a waste of time*

    *a two term president with more surveillance and undeclared warfare capabilities than any other world leader in history*

    yea it really ruined his life didn’t it? Maybe if he was not squared off by bribery he’d actually be honest for a change.

    Maybe…. he’s just stoned and acting really paranoid.

  4. Man, I have no use for this lying psychopath. But, I guess I understand that his statement, qualified as it was, may actually have some small positive influence among the mainstream viz cannabis prohibition and the racist war on some drugs.
    Come one, you guys seriously think TPTB gonna be rounding up potheads? What, are we talking “FEMA camps” a la Alex Jones, et al? I really don’t think so, just cuz it seems like way too much trouble.

  5. Ted Heistman | Jan 21, 2014 at 11:09 am |

    I am in Colorado Springs right now and Manitou Springs is this hippy artsy little town nearby, really close to the mountain and not everyone here wants it to become the next “little Amsterdam” and I can see where they are coming from.

    I can’t wait for the day that pot becomes no big deal. Because frankly, I don’t give a shit about it. I can’t relate to the people who revere it so much. I have seen too many total losers smoking it daily. Its no panacea as far as I am concerned either.

    That said it would great if the President could actually do something besides opine about minorities getting locked up. Gee? You think so? Too bad you can’t do anything about it, eh, Mr. President?

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