Obama Edges Closer Toward Backing Pot Legalization

Print More

In an exit interview with Rolling Stone, President Obama gets a bit closer to backing the idea of marijuana legalization. He says: “I am not somebody who believes that legalization is a panacea. But I do believe that treating this as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol, is the much smarter way to deal with it. Typically how these classifications are changed are not done by presidential edict but are done either legislatively or through the [Drug Enforcement Administration]. As you might imagine, the DEA, whose job it is historically to enforce drug laws, is not always going to be on the cutting edge about these issues.”

Asked to elaborate on whether he will “get on the cutting edge,” Obama says that now that marijuana legalization has been approved by California voters, “It is untenable over the long term for the Justice Department or the DEA to be enforcing a patchwork of laws, where something that’s legal in one state could get you a 20-year prison sentence in another. So this is a debate that is now ripe, much in the same way that we ended up making progress on same-sex marriage. There’s something to this whole states-being-laboratories-of-democracy and an evolutionary approach. You now have about a fifth of the country where this is legal.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *