Vice News recently sat down for an interview with Obama.
Shane Smith: “It was our most popular question.”
Obama: “I understand, because sometimes on the White House website and petitions, we get the same.
So let’s put it in perspective. Young people: I understand this is important to you, but you should be thinking about climate change, the economy, jobs, war on peace. Maybe way at the bottom they should be thinking about marijuana.
[quote_right]”At a certain point, if enough states end up decriminalizing then Congress may then reschedule marijuana”[/quote_right]
I’d separate out the issue of the criminalization of marijuana, from encouraging it’s use. I think there is no doubt that our criminal justice system generally, is so heavily skewed towards cracking down on non violent drug offenders that it has not just had a terrible effect on many communities, particularly of color, rending a lot of folks unemployable because they got felony records, disproportionate prison sentences, it costs a huge amount of money to states and a lot of states are starting to figure that out.
But what I’m encouraged by is what you’re starting to see is not just liberal democrats but also some very conservative republicans recognize this doesn’t make sense. They see the money and how much costly it is to incarcerate. So we might be able to make some progress on the decriminalization side. At a certain point, if enough states end up decriminalizing then Congress may then reschedule marijuana.
[quote_right]”Locking someone up for 20 years is probably not the best strategy”[/quote_right]
But I always say to folks, legalization or decimalization is not a panacea. Do you feel the same way about meth? Coke? How about crack? How about Heroin? And there is a legitimate concern about, I think, on the overall effect this has on society and particular vulnerable parts of our society. Substance abuse generally, legal or illegal, is a problem. Locking someone up for 20 years is probably not the best strategy.”
Watch the full interview below. The part about where they talk about marijuana starts at 14:22.