President Barack Obama surprised readers and pundits recently when he told The New Yorker he doesn’t think marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol. In a profile written by David Remnick, Obama told the magazine he views marijuana smoking 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.”
When Remnick pressed Obama, asking if he thinks marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol, Obama replied that it is less dangerous “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.” Adding that he has told his daughters that marijuana is unhealthy and a bad idea, he expressed concern about the way that drug arrests disproportionately target minority populations. “We should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time,” he said.
Weighing in on Colorado and Washington’s legalization of marijuana, Obama said their laws go forward: “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.”
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