Stuff co nz 20 January 2014
US President Barack Obama says smoking marijuana is a “bad habit” but no worse than alcohol and that states legalising weed should go ahead with their plans.
“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,” the president said an interview with The New Yorker magazine.
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 healthy”, Obama said.
Obama’s administration has given states permission to experiment with marijuana regulation, and laws recently passed in Colorado and Washington state legalising marijuana recently went into effect. The president said it was important for the legalisation 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 he is troubled at the disproportionate number of arrests and imprisonments of minorities for marijuana use. “Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot and poor kids do,” he said. “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.”