When President Barack Obama revealed in a recent interview his view that marijuana poses relatively little danger, he wasted the billions of taxpayer dollars the government has spent warning the U.S. public against drug use, says former Rep. Ernest Istook.
"Mr. Obama might as well have rolled that money into a joint and smoked it on national television," the former Oklahoma Republican wrote in an op-ed piece published in The Washington Times
Obama made his comments in an interview with The New Yorker
, in which he said he doesn't think marijuana "is more dangerous than alcohol," although its use is
not something he would encourage.
The president's comments have caused anti-drug leaders around the country to worry "about the negative repercussions among youth," Istook says.
The former congressman cites comments from the Drug-Free America Foundation, which published a statement after the interview questioning Obama's "laissez-faire attitude
"Either he is seriously ill-informed about the issue or is completely ignoring warnings from his highly esteemed advise
rs," said Calvina Fay, executive director of the foundation.
Istook also points out that Obama's comments are in direct violation of the White House's own official position.
The White House says on its own website
that "the administration steadfastly opposes legalization of marijuana and other drugs because legalization would increase the availability and use of illicit drugs, and pose significant health and safety risks to all Americans, particularly young people."
It also details other dangers associated with marijuana use, such as respiratory and mental illness, learning and memory problems, depression and suicidal thoughts, which Istook cites while warning against "confusing messages" that "perpetuate the false notion that marijuana is harmless."
"They should add Mr. Obama's name to the list of confusing messengers," Istook added.
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