Obama has admitted to smoking marijuana in his younger days

Obama has admitted to smoking marijuana in his younger days

Marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol, according to the President of the United States.

This is a fact that many have known for sometime, but one which the authorities, are still to a large extent, willfully ignorant of.

Speaking in an interview with the New Yorker editor David Remnick, Mr Obama said that while he does not encourage marijuana use, he believes that those who are caught using it should not be given prison sentences.

In Washington and Colorado marijuana for recreational purposes has been legalised, while in California, citizens are able to purchase a medical marijuana card, if they have a condition that warrants it.

Mr Obama told New Yorker: “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.”

However he has stopped short of calling for the complete legalisation of the drug across the United States and has instead shifted the government focus towards catching those who supply the drug.

When pressed on whether he felt marijuana was less harmful than alcohol, the President said he agreed it was less damaging “in terms of its impact on the individual customer”.

The Justice Department has previously said it will focus more on catching and prosecuting those who sell it rather than on individual users.

Obama added: “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.”

However he was careful to state that legalising the drug posed problems in his view, because it could then be used as a justification for legalising “hard drugs” such as cocaine, if those drugs were also demonstrated to be harmless in small quantities.

This of course discounts the fact that unlike cocaine and meth, marijuana – in its pure form – is a herb and not a processed, manufactured hard drug.

And if any drug is found to be harmless in small quantities, that raises questions as to why it is illegal. Afterall, alcohol and prescription can be very harmful in large quantities, however those drugs are to some extent regulated – but legal – to reduce the damage.

Mr Obama’s comments came after New York announced it would join 20 other states, and Washington DC, in permitting the sale, possession and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

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