Obama: Marijuana ‘No More Dangerous Than Alcohol’

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Courtesy: MGN Online)

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Marijuana, which is still placed in the same category as heroin, ecstasy and psychedelic mushrooms by the federal government, is no more dangerous than alcohol, President Barack Obama said in an interview published Sunday.

Speaking to New Yorker editor David Remnick, Obama said he still viewed pot smoking negatively – but that on the whole, the drug wasn’t the social ill that it’s been viewed as in the past.

“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,” Obama told the weekly magazine.

The president said pot was actually less dangerous that alcohol “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,” he said.

Two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized recreational marijuana use. Another 18, along with the District of Columbia, allow some legal pot use, primarily for medicinal purposes. But when it comes to federal law, marijuana remains a schedule 1 controlled substance — a drug with high potential for abuse but no accepted medical use — and the White House has said that Obama doesn’t support changing that status.

Instead, Obama said in the New Yorker interview that he’s focused on making laws that treat users fairly.

“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,” he told Remnick.

In August, Obama’s Justice Department announced it would not challenge legalization in Colorado and Washington, and instead focus federal enforcement on trafficking cases and preventing pot from getting in the hands of kids. Prosecutors are now required to focus on distinct enforcement priorities that also include preventing driving while high and forbidding the cultivation of marijuana on public lands.

In the New Yorker, Obama said Colorado and Washington’s laws were “important” since they decriminalized a commonly used substance. But he also said the laws could raise questions for other illegal substances.

“If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka, are we open to that?” Obama wondered. “If somebody says, We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn’t going to kill you or rot your teeth, are we O.K. with that?”


    • Chris

      We live in the Stone Age. We need to legalize the drugs and get the dealers off the street. Once you can do things in moderation, I feel the pharmacies can provide for you, we can tax and use they money for something good. You see, people have been doing drugs for centuries behind closed doors, and if things aren’t changed by the law, do you really think people will stop? No they won’t, so on that note legalize it and make money for the homeless. For animals that are abused. Same with prostitution . Here you have people spreading disease, and they will always so it so if you tax them and get them to pay taxes like the rest of us, then you can use there tax money for another good cause. .
      These things are gonna happen whether or not we approve of them, so might as well do something positive with the negativity of this. I don’t condone it but I can’t stop it and neither can you.

  • Greg

    I think the USA should do what Portugal has done, they’ve legalized EVERY drug…Pot, Heroin, Cocaine, Ecstasy…ect…their crime is at an all time low, and the addiction rate is at an all time low….plus, their economy is flourishing…

  • Sarah

    Apparently the President doesn’t understand that it helps millions of people struggling with illnesses and the taxes from making it legal could just help states and this country with debt problems. It’s a dang plant that has grown naturally for thousands of years. There’s nothing addictive in it, people get hooked on the feeling, not the THC itself.. perhaps HE should do some research! I could go on for days on this topic. I’m a writer and have written dozens of articles regarding this topic.. his comments just show how under-educated he is on the subject.

  • Alicia Bailey

    I say legalize everything. Things will still be done behind closed doors, but not to such an extent. We need to grow and produce our own drugs, and quit importing them. Generate revenue for ourselves, instead of foreign countries. I do not use drugs, other than alcohol, but I have in the past. I’m not addicted to anything but cigarettes. I choose not to partake in marijuana, just don’t like the feeling. I have enough sense to even try anything else, in fear of addiction. Better to not even mess around. Generate jobs for Americans, not the people that are involved in the importation of illegal substances right now!

  • derrick williams

    Dude come on how people have dead from alcohol compared to pot… how many people have died from peanuts compared to pot. Its help with cancer and tumors and it has less side affects then most if not all of the medication. No I do not smoke it only because of work. If it wasnt for that I would smoke it. I do agree tax it and make the money off of it. To help our country out. Just have laws with it like u do with alcohol and age restrictions.

  • Kathy Kondas

    I have been through a lot of medical problems in my life and for him to compare it to alcohol is outrageous! I am on a lot of pain meds that are a lot more dangerous then the marijuana! I don’t think that Obama should have any say in the matter what so ever until he actually sat down and talked to people like myself and others that have to be on these types of medications for the rest of our lives! I would rather be off of all of the medications and be able to smoke marijuana when I need it! I just think he is ignorant to the fact of how much good it could be doing for a lot of people! And until he understands it better, he needs to keep his thoughts to himself!!! It not only would help people with the pain aspect but adults with ADHD and OCD and people that need to be on calming medicine or even people that have post- dramatic stress disorder! This could really be used for so many good uses for people! He just doesn’t know because he doesn’t have to deal with any of these issues!!! If he did his job and looked into these things before opening his mouth, he would better understand!!!

  • Debbie

    They should legalize weed… Government could make so much $$$$$$$ on it….. Beer is worse then smoking for real!!!!!

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.