Although President Obama doesn’t think marijuana legalization will end the U.S. drug problem, he does believe that marijuana should be regulated like alcohol and tobacco.
He recently had an interview with Rolling Stone, where he stated that “treating [marijuana] as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol, is the much smarter way to deal with it,” reports IBTimes.com.
Chicago and New York, along with several other cities like New Orleans, have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana because it is a more sensible approach. It is also reported that a minimum of 15 additional states have amended state rules detailing how much marijuana someone can possess without criminal penalty. Four states are also working to change the current: Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Obama said, “It is untenable over the long term for the Justice Department or the DEA [Drug Enforcement Agency] to be enforcing a patchwork of, where something that’s legal in one state could get you a 20-year prison sentence in another.”
Letting states decide for themselves has been a way to measure public opinion regarding marijuana. According to Obama, the systematic approach is the ideal path to take.
Obama also stated, “The point is that politics in a big, diverse country like this requires us to move the ball forward not in one long Hail Mary to the end zone, but to, you know, systematically make progress.”
Politicians still find marijuana legalization to be a sensitive topic. The American public shows that it is leaning toward full legalization. One decade ago, polls showed that only 32% of Americans supported marijuana legalization. A more recent poll, released in October, showed that percentage to 57% in favor of legalization.