President Obama believes that marijuana is not anymore dangerous than alcohol, but does not advocate either.
In a recent interview with The New Yorker, the president said that marijuana legalization laws in Colorado and Washington State are an “important” move in the US justice system, where most inmates are non-violent drug offenders.
In 2013, the Obama administration said it would not challenge the marijuana legalization laws in Colorado and Washington State, if marijuana distribution is regulated, noted The Washington Post.
“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,” stated President Obama. “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
President Obama added that marijuana is less dangerous “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.”
The president also noted the disparity of jail sentences for minorities caught with marijuana.
“Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,” said President Obama. “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.”
According to a study by the ACLU, $3.6 billion is spent every year to enforce marijuana laws, 52 percent of all drug arrests in 2010 were for marijuana and black people are almost 4 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana.