In a move that may signal more acceptance for state-level legalization efforts, President Barack Obama recently described marijuana as less dangerous than alcohol "in terms of its impact on the individual consumer."
The comment came in a recent article in the New Yorker Magazine.
in his memoir "Dreams of My Father," Obama wrote about using marijuana in his younger years. And while the effects of drug may not overly concern him, the President is not a fan.
"I view it as a bad habit and a vice," Obama told reporter David Remnick, comparing marijuana to cigarettes in terms of health effects. "I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.”
The President is concerned about the subjective way in which marijuana laws are applied. He noted that a disproportionate number of marijuana prosecutions are again poor people of color, as opposed to middle class and wealthy white people.
The President said when it comes to the legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington state, it’s important for them to go forward "because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”
But Obama called the process of legalization "a challenge” and said that people who see legalization as a cure-all for societal problems "are probably overstating the case."
In a statement, Michael Elliot of Colorado's Marijuana Industry Group said, "we are encouraged that the President is taking this matter seriously and carefully considering the direction Americans are moving when it comes to reforming marijuana laws."