Obama Downplays Pot’s Danger
The President of the United States has gone on record equating marijuana with alcohol, causing others to question: “Has cannabis been getting a bum rap?”
Just weeks after legalized marijuana went on sale in Colorado, President Obama is fanning the flames of controversy by telling the editor of the New Yorker, “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.” In the same article, Obama also references his own marijuana use as a kid and adds, “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.”
Currently, marijuana is still categorized alongside heroin, ecstasy and psychedelic mushrooms by the federal government as a schedule 1 controlled substance – a drug with high potential for abuse but no accepted medical use. According to the White House, Obama doesn’t support changing that status, despite his controversial comments. Instead, he said in the New Yorker interview that he’s focused on making laws that treat users fairly. Under his direction, prosecutors are currently focusing on enforcement priorities that include preventing driving while high and forbidding the cultivation of marijuana on public lands.
Not that Obama recommends experimentation to his girls. “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.”
James L. Capra, the chief of operations at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), will be relieved to hear that. Just days before the New Yorker article hit newsstands, Capra called the legalization of marijuana at the state level “reckless and irresponsible,” warning that the movement to decriminalize the sale of pot in the United States will have severe consequences. The remarks were made during a hearing on drug cultivation in Afghanistan. “Every part of the world where this has been tried, it has failed time and time again,” he said.
Two US states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized recreational marijuana use, while another 18 (along with the District of Columbia) allow some legal pot use, primarily for medicinal purposes.
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By Wendy Lee Nentwig