Michael Botticelli, the Deputy Director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, reluctantly admitted today that marijuana was not as dangerous as alcohol and that more people die from prescription medicine than pot.
During a House Oversight Committee hearing, Botticelli was questioned by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., wrote RawStory.com (video below).
“How many people die from marijuana overdoses every year?” Connolly asked.
“I don’t know that I know. It is very rare,” Botticelli answered.
“Very rare," said Connolly. "Now just contrast that with prescription drugs, unintentional deaths from prescription drugs, one American dies every 19 minutes. Nothing comparable to marijuana. Is that correct?”
After Botticelli admitted that this statement was correct, Connolly asked, “Hundreds of thousands of people die every year from alcohol-related deaths ... automobile, liver disease, esophageal cancer, blood poisoning. Is that incorrect?”
Botticelli avoided answering, but instead used talking points about marijuana that have been used by the Obama administration for the past five years, notes FireDogLake.com.
Connolly then brought up President Obama's interview with The New Yorker, in which he stated, “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.”
Rep. Connolly then asked Botticelli, “Is it not a scientific fact that there is nothing comparable with marijuana? And I’m not saying it is good or bad, but when we look at deaths and illnesses, alcohol, other hard drugs are certainly, even prescription drugs, are a threat to public health in a way that just isolated marijuana is not. Isn’t that a scientific fact? Or do you dispute that fact?”
“I don’t dispute that fact,” Botticelli replied.