Obama: Marijuana No More Dangerous Than Alcohol UPDATE

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Jay Brockman

Scroll to the bottom of the next page for an update.

ORIGINAL POST, Jan. 20, 10:58 AM: In an interview with The New Yorker's David Remnick, President Obama has conceded what most Americans already know: marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol.

Given that nobody has ever died from an overdose on pot whereas countless Americans have perished from alcohol-related illnesses (not to mention drunk driving accidents and the like) Obama also took the next logical step and admitted that weed is actually far safer to the individual consumer than alcohol. The fact that a sitting president has admitted that the federal government's pot prohibition is essentially bullshit has led many observers to ponder whether 2014 might just be the year marijuana is legalized.

In the interview, Obama called pot "a bad habit and a vice." He then compared it to "the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life," adding, "I don't think it is more dangerous than alcohol."

"[I]n terms of its impact on the individual consumer," pot is actually safer than alcohol, Obama continued, although he stated that "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."

Even more strikingly, Obama confessed that the nation's war on weed is inherently unjust. "Middle-class kids don't get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do," he argued. "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 . . . 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."

Marijuana is already legal for recreational purposes in Colorado and Washington--the only two states sending football teams to the Superbowl on Feb. 2, by the way--and California has no less than three competing pot legalization initiatives heading for the November ballot.

UPDATE, Jan. 22 12:15 PM: Not surprisingly, any real hope that Obama's bluntly honest remarks on pot carry any real weight seems unfounded. Less than a week after Obama said pot was no more dangerous than alcohol--an admission that reveals the inherent hypocrisy and injustice of the war on weed--the White House is scrambling to play damage control.

Today, Obama's press secretary Jay Carney stated that in making his comments, which were published last Sunday in the New Yorker magazine, Obama was only referencing his belief that harsh sentences for marijuana offenders is unfair. However, he clarified, this does not mean he's changing his administration's policy on the drug.

"White House: marijuana policy has not changed," reads the headline in a blog post today in thehill.com's news blog, Briefing Room.

However, the story notes, Obama can't take back his admission that pot is no more dangerous than smoking cigarettes, an opinion that goes against his own Drug Czar office, which states that marijuana "can cause permanent brain damage and carries more carcinogens than tobacco smoke."

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Email: nschou@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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41 comments
paullucas714
paullucas714

Jeez what is wrong with that guy? I hope this new development gets lots of attention so the public can see what a fake he is.

Luie Carrion
Luie Carrion

Alcohol is way worse. Have you seen how that shit leaves people after they're done "turning up?" lol. SMH. Not to say smoking doesn't cause health issues especially with your lungs because I'm sure it does but it's obvious it's no more dangerous than alcohol. But hey...the prison system is big business and the laws I'm sure are in place for a reason...

Michael Mastagni
Michael Mastagni

Terrible comment about gateway drug. Believe it. Seen lives ruined as I have with alcohol.

Beezling
Beezling

Orange County Sheriff's Deputies are no more dangerous than Fullerton Police officers.

Jon Lundin
Jon Lundin

That's the ONLY thing I agree with from that narcissistic douche bag.

Isaac Romero
Isaac Romero

well maybe now he will FIRE Melinda Haag

Aron Muro
Aron Muro

LOL!!! Whats uuup shooga booga!? Enjoy your day!!

Randy Watson
Randy Watson

Baby cheeks, wazza crackin? This Nigga work on MLK, sheeeet? Nigga woke up blazin saying I have a dream!

Aron Muro
Aron Muro

Shiiiit Randy Watson I didn't know they let you take FB breaks at the Compton Swap Meet!

Randy Watson
Randy Watson

Myb playyaaa ya stretching it. I only drink and blaze on weekends!

Aron Muro
Aron Muro

How about the recreational everyday users stop. Im for legalization...if it helps your fibromyalgia or cancer patients etc...then yeah. But these people who HAVE to smoke before work and HAVE to smoke on their lunch break cuz they don't want to deal with reality...forget it!

Martin Gilbert
Martin Gilbert

Diz don`t mean shit, ppl JUZ wanna hear what they wanna hear or JustifY the use or abuse of legal or illegal substances, the CARDS are a joke, most ppl and got shit wrong other than getting creative on getting HIGH, man can`t handle shit- alcohol, weed, Coca or even smokin` cAcA, So stop with wanting to get High Damn U ppl, I tried didn`t do shit for me, if I party it`s music, not alcohol or drugs and I can take UP inTO the WEE hours, but thoze drunkz or pooperz, they Be acting stupid or worse, chiks be all whored UP, yuCK!

Jim Cota
Jim Cota

Stupid!!! Obama needs to shut his pie hole.

Paul Lucas
Paul Lucas

Aron Muro lets throw that guy in prison for life and pay 60K a year to keep him there. That's a solution to his continued pot smoking right?

Jonathan Taylor
Jonathan Taylor

Well Aron you'd like legalization since the price of weed would fall to the price of oregano and it would now only cost you 1/100th of your paycheck. But since you're sick of it - please understand that legalization doesn't mean you're forced to smoke it. It just means you don't get put in jail for smoking it.

Jonathan Taylor
Jonathan Taylor

I believe we also may be first in police brutality Shannon.

Aron Muro
Aron Muro

Yeah I'd rather smoke weed all day..give half my paycheck to a drug so I can be loaded all say long and lose all my social skills. I'm watching it happen to someone live...guy has total social anxiety from smoking that bullshit all day. Anxiety attacks.. Paranoia. So sick of weed... But drug addicts never get it.. Cuz it's all "natural". Enjoy.

Mike Gee
Mike Gee

For once this idiot makes sense

Shannon Tiare
Shannon Tiare

Word. Our entire fucking budget goes to defense, which is why we're first in Imperialism & infant mortality and last in everything else.

David Tesler
David Tesler

The military budget is bloated, and needs to be cut down about 90%.

Jen Ford Mirmak
Jen Ford Mirmak

But yet he still will not have the DEA back off on raiding the dispensaries. I may be a Democrat, but I can call out hypocrisy on my own party.

Aron Muro
Aron Muro

Get off the pot Obama and quit cutting funds to our military guys! Seems alot more important!

Nancy Keeler
Nancy Keeler

I'd say it's less dangerous than alcohol.

Paul Lucas
Paul Lucas

Half Maesures will evail us nothing

Shannon Tiare
Shannon Tiare

That's nice. Maybe he can explain why his administration is shutting all the pot shops down then, and why he still letting people go to jail for marijuana offenses.

Paul Lucas
Paul Lucas

He deserves not hanks until ALL Life Without Parole Prisoners for cannabis only 0ffenses are released from Federal Prison.

paullucas714
paullucas714

First off he is full of shit. There are multiple seriously ill persons on trial right his very minute for small amounts of cannabis facing felonies because of the perception of cannabis itself which is total BS to begin with but it is pervasive. The whole marijuana is safer than alcohol is the main message that got it legalized in Colorado. Mason Tvert the lead in that campaign stuck to that simple message and it was passed by that message alone. the revenues being generated by the legal secure safe and regulated sales f cannabis to consenting adults is what is driving the issue now in other sates. The plain truth that cannabis is safe, does no damage to the users, is a given in many states. By the prejudice attached to it by the very image of cannabis consumers still drives the efforts against the legalization of cannabis. The message should be shifted to depriving the criminal cartels of the revenues to continue their activities as well as the revenues generated by the simple normalization legalization and regulation of cannabis to bring it across the finish line.


For fucks sake, Quick someone call Lou Correa!!

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Perhaps it's a political ploy...but I'll take it. At least he acknowledges the war on drugs (on weed, at least) is disproportionately waged on the poor and minorities...and that alcohol is far more dangerous than marijuana. Perhaps he is merely repeating exactly the same points progressives have been trying to drive home for years...but I have to give him kudos for talking sense.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

@paullucas714  

He's a politician...comes with the territory. I'm really tired of hearing folks complain about how marijuana causes brain damage...and alcohol doesn't?!! And if the government was so concerned with us all breathing cleaner air they'd have stiffer regulations for major polluters (corporations). But I think I'm preaching to the choir, again. ;-)

paullucas714
paullucas714

call the police on your friend. we can throw him in prison for life in order to save his life.

paullucas714
paullucas714

@FishWithoutBicycle@paullucas714

Preach on young lady but tell a friend like Alpha Beta used to say. You should tell your friends whoa re of the old mindset to re-loo at it and purge themselves of the old way of thinking.

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