President Obama explained his “evolving” position on marijuana in a recent interview .
Obama said: “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.”
To quantify his statement, Obama continued: “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.”
Explaining the racial factors involved, Obama said: “Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do. 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] 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.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reported in 2012 that African Americans are statistically 4 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana than Caucasian Americans.
Regarding the legalization of marijuana in Washington State and Colorado; “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.”
Instead of admitting to any current use of marijuana, Obama stated: “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.”
Taking a safe approach, Obama said: “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?”
According to a recent poll , 55% of Americans believe that marijuana should be legal and the same percentage also would support marijuana’s legalization.
This poll points out that Americans do not view marijuana as a danger to people wither physically or mentally. However, there is still a perception that marijuana leads to other drugs.
Only 19% of those polled think that marijuana is a problem in our modern culture.
In another poll taken in April of 2013, a surprising 52% of Americans “favor legalizing the use of marijuana.”
And still another poll stated that 58% of Americans are in support of legalizing marijuana for recreational use.