Obama Supports Marijuana Legalization


President Obama, in an interview with David Remnick published Sunday, made comments in support of marijuana legalization.  Obama made reference to his own well-documented history of smoking marijuana, calling it a bad habit and a vice and likening his use of the drug to his early use of tobacco.  The President also compared marijuana to alcohol, saying that he did not think it was more dangerous than alcohol.  Obama also stated his position on smoking marijuana as regards his daughters: Obama thought it was “a bad idea, a waste of time, and unhealthy.”

Obama made clear, however, his support for a change that would reduce selective, unduly harsh penalties (such as extensive jail time) suffered by individual users when those users are poor.  Minority races are usually poor relative to majority, Obama pointed out.  Obama stated that “middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do.”

Obama warned about the problems associated with legalizing marijuana, specifically that marijuana legalization may be a gateway legalization to other drug legalization.  But Obama said the “experiment” going on in Colorado and Washington–the two states that have already legalized the sale of marijuana–was important because it is important to proceed to a situation where unfairly disproportional punishment for people committing a crime is ended.

Currently, marijuana is illegal federally in America under the Controlled Substances Act. Colorado and Washington approved legalization of recreational use and sale by ballot. Regulation and taxation were also legislated for, and the states stand to make a large profit from marijuana tax, tourism, and other revenue if their cannabis industry is allowed to continue.

Obama recently stated that he does not support legalization of marijuana, but that it is important to have a conversation now because of the conflicting state and federal laws. There are several responses the Obama administration could take to answer Colorado’s and Washington’s moves to legalize. First, the federal government could just ignore the state activity. Second, the federal government could raid marijuana sellers in Colorado and Washington, enforcing federal law. Third, the federal government could sue the states.

Some of the U.S. Congress supports changes to the Controlled Substances Act. These changes would include exempting marijuana offences from federal enforcement in states where legalization has taken place.  In either case, it is worth noting that federal law enforcement would not likely target individual users, but would use their resources to go after distribution and organized crime elements of the trade.

Although Obama has previously made statements about his support for keeping marijuana illegal, his views have been seen to change somewhat, as the President’s views have on other issues such as gay marriage. When the government was asked about Obama’s views on legalization in the light of growing evidence of medical benefits associated with marijuana last August, presidential spokesperson Josh Earnest explained that the President did not advocate a change in the law “at this point.

The President has generally taken the position that going after drug traffickers is an important priority for the Federal. Gangs and those who use violence in their trade were seen as important targets for federal prosecution.  The President does not view the use of federal law enforcement resources to go after individual users–especially those who use marijuana for medical reasons–as a proper use of federal law enforcement resources. Although President Obama has now made statement in favor of changing the situation regarding punishing individual users of marijuana, which would certainly mean new legislation, it is by no means clear what course the federal government will take to bridge the gap between federal and state law in states that legalize.

By Day Blakely Donaldson


New Yorker
CBS News
Huffington Post

14 Responses to "Obama Supports Marijuana Legalization"

  1. La Buscador   May 3, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Quit playing with the snakes tail. Legalize all drugs. Then and only then will we have an impact on the black market. Mid-grade is 100$ an oz on the streets of most any state.800$ a pound. It!s about 8 to 9% THC. Medical grade is 5000$ a pound. The only way to have an impact on the gangs and cartels violence. Is to allow We the People to grow and consume our own MJ. No demand no reason for a supply. La Buscador. A Louisiana resident. Being in the south We the People are more close to the black marketeers than you northerners. We have more direct experience. Poverty rules. Poverty says We the People will always seek out the least expensive product. La Buscador.

  2. john davis   April 12, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    It!s still 5 years per seed and 5 years per plant in Louisiana..HELP..

  3. john davis   April 12, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Shush, be quite now. Our Government is working hard to keep the Black Market alive..

  4. john davis   March 26, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    Opiates, Alcohol, and Nicotine should be illegal.Until they all are, all will remain hypocrits..La Buscador

  5. satangov   June 19, 2015 at 11:00 am

    Raymond States Leno, Thornton, Sheen CA. Bath Salts Manuf. Co. in Palm Springs, Ca., La Quinta, Ca. and an Island off of Mexico. Very Mentally Ill Howard William Raymond said Sheen paid off Mexican Gov. officials like Obama paid Off CA. did to legalize bath salts. Paul Raymond’s Sons Howard Raymond and brother lover David Thornton has his Obama Salt Manuf. Co. in La Quinta, CA and Howard sells lbs. and kilos from his Gov. Condo 72310 Blueridge Ct., Palm Desert CA. 92260 for 2 grand a kilo.
    These same celebs. Covert Darpa Eye Micro USA From Computer for 2 million a year.
    Search Ill Darpa Wifi for my posts. I am microwave tortured 5 years under Obama’s approval. Obama’s Darpa Defense Micro Wave Weapons on public for NWO Civilian mind control.

  6. Ansel   January 24, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Example Indiana: 14.900+ arrests in 2012 related to marijuana and over $148 million spent enforcing the law and courts / arrests / etc …… And that’s just Indiana ……

    Certainly makes sense to legalize and tax and rather than minus $150 million in the hole Indiana would be $15-$25 million up ……. $175 million swing ……. Are we crazy?

    Of course I forgot, jailers, attorneys, police and the whole criminal system would lose customers, silly me .,,. And they wouldn’t have a reason to shake down that poor black kid …… What was I thinking?

  7. Day Blakely Donaldson   January 21, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    See below

  8. Kathleen Chippi   January 21, 2014 at 3:34 am

    5 years in and Obama has prosecuted 4 times the number of medical
    marijuana caregivers and patients acting as dispensary owners as bush
    jr. and now he’s the one throwing around the word hypocrite? Obama
    continues to be one of those LEADING hypocrites until he signs some
    MANDATORY EXECUTIVE ORDERS to correct his cannabis hypocrisy :

    1. REMOVE CANNABIS (THC and ALL cannabaniods) from schedule!
    4. STOP EXCLUDING PEOPLE from receiving lifesaving organs from the ORGAN DONATION PROGRAM.

    Until these transgressions on the American people are corrected–Obama is still a HYPOCRITE to be SHAMED!

    • Day Blakely Donaldson   January 21, 2014 at 8:48 am

      Kathleen, very good points. Thank you

      • Kathleen Chippi   January 21, 2014 at 12:37 pm

        Very misleading headline—

  9. lynn crawford   January 20, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    They need to legalize pot ,,That is sure fire way to get our country out of debt you know they will put a tax on it to lower the debt quicker because the way congress is going they will never do it that way seems to be not working .

  10. Jefferson Davis   January 19, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    I truly believe that we are heading towards a state wide legalization if Obama stands up for his American people!

  11. Day Blakely Donaldson   January 19, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Thank you for your comment and your criticism.

    I think, however, that Obama’s statements do show that he favors legalization:

    Obama explicitly supports change to the situation wherein poor people are punished for crimes that people with more money are not punished. Obama says in the interview: “we should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing.” Is Obama saying he and others who have smoked marijuana should be imprisoned for long terms like poor kids?

    Obama likens his marijuana use to cigarettes use–a legal drug. Obama says marijuana is no worse than alcohol–a legal drug. Is it Obama’s intention to imply that cigarettes and alcohol should be made illegal?

    Obama says of legalization 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.” Is Obama saying it is important to go forward so that the ballots in Colorado and Washington can be overturned by the federal and cause state-federal problems?

    Obama warns that legalization is dangerous because it might lead to other drug legalization. Obama could have said it is dangerous because marijuana is dangerous ITSELF. He doesn’t. He contrasts marijuana with drugs characterized by him as dangerous.

    Obama characterizes marijuana as a vice, bad habit, and waste of time. He does not characterize it as anything criminally harmful, which he could have done. Obama tells his children he thinks marijuana is “a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.” He does not forbid his daughter or say that marijuana is harmful, wrong or criminal.


  12. Shmuelman   January 19, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Your headline is very misleading. Nowhere in Pres. Obama’s comments did he say he favored legalization. His only comment was that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.