President Barack Obama said an interview with The New Yorker magazine, “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.”
He said, “Smoking marijuana is not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very health.”
President Obama’s administration gave states permission to experiment with marijuana regulation. Laws recently passed in Colorado and Washington legalizing marijuana recently went into effect. The president said it was important for the legalization of marijuana to go forward in those states to avoid a situation in which only a few are punished while a large portion of people have broken the law at one time or another.
The president said, “Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do. 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.” He said ,”users shouldn’t be locked up for long stretches of time when people writing drug laws “have probably done the same thing.”
The president urged caution to changing marijuana laws. He said,” people who think legalizing pot will solve social problems are “probably overstating the case. The experiment that’s going to be taking place in Colorado and Washington is going to be, I think, a challenge.
Critics of the new laws raise concerns about public health and law enforcement, asking whether wide availability of the drug will lead to more underage drug use, more cases of driving while high and more crime.