Obama plays down marijuana risks
In light of recent legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington state, President Barack Obama spoke with The New Yorkerand said smoking marijuana is no more dangerous than drinking alcohol. During the interview, he referred to smoking marijuana as “a bad habit” and “a vice.”
Obama had admitted to smoking both marijuana and cigarettes as a young adult, but he discouraged children from picking up the habit, calling smoking “a waste of time” and “not very healthy.”
The President also expressed concern regarding law enforcement officials targeting minorities when it comes to marijuana-related arrests. African Americans and Latinos, in particular, are disproportionately punished for marijuana use, when compared with middle-class users. Obama called the recent marijuana legalizations an important “experiment,” in which he said he hopes there will be fair penalties if the law is broken. Experts said that the President’s statements reflect studies that have found marijuana to be less harmful than alcohol.