Washington, D.C.- Support for broader legalization of medical and recreational marijuana has been slowly gaining steam, leading many to believe that 2014 will be the year, the once taboo drug will become more widely accepted and legal.
It is well documented that President Obama has smoke marijuana in his youth , and although he says has warned his teen daughters from smoking weed, Obama says the drug is not “more dangerous” than alcohol.
Obama revealed his feelings about pot in an interview with the New Yorker magazine, President Obama said, after commenting about his youthful experiments, “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.” He then added, “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
When pressed by the author of the piece, David Remnick, Obama said he believed marijuana is less dangerous “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer,” but emphasized that marijuana use should not be encouraged.
The President also spoke of the marijuana in terms of the widespread incarceration of young men—primarily black—for minor marijuana offenses. Obama said he was concerned that “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.”
“Those who argue that legalizing marijuana is a panacea and it solves all these social problems I think are probably overstating the case,” Obama said, according to NBC News. “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.”
It’s been just 20 days since recreation marijuana went on sale in Colorado. January 1st was marked by long lines at legal pot shops, and in the following days, marijuana advocates, embolden by Colorado’s success, are pushing for more states to pass medical and recreational marijuana laws. Washington State will be the next state where recreational marijuana is legal, which will happen later this year.
State legislators in Alaska are also thinking of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Florida could soon have a medical marijuana bill on the state ballot, making it one of the first Southern states to pass approve of the drug for medical uses.
The talk of widespread marijuana legalization has also been accompanied by dire warnings from anti-drug advocates who are concerned that we are descending into moral depravity and encouraging drug use among teens. And, of course, the primary concern of law enforcement and anti-pot advocates is the concern that stoned drivers will cause traffic deaths and accidents as access continues to grow. Marijuana DUIs are a concern, but traffic study after traffic study—nearly a dozen in all—show that stoned drivers are not close to be as dangerous as drunk drivers, who cause a third of all fatal accidents in the U.S.