Obama: Pot Not More Dangerous Than Alcohol

Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says he doesn’t believe marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol.

President Barack Obama (Image source: AP/Charles Dharapak)

“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,” he tells interviewer David Remnick in “The New Yorker.”

“I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

He added that pot is less dangerous than alcohol, quote, “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer” and that he’s troubled that poor kids, many of them African American and Latinos, are far more likely to get locked up for smoking pot than middle-class kids.

But Obama urges a cautious approach, saying people who think legalizing pot will solve social problems are, quote, “probably overstating the case.”

Even so, as for the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, “it’s important for it 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.”

When it comes to harder drugs, he says, the harm to users and the social costs are profound.

In the 17,000-word profile, the page where Remnick asks Obama about the legalization of marijuana can be found here.