Report: Former Pres. Carter Favors Legalization of Pot

Tuesday, 11 Dec 2012 10:55 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Former President Jimmy Carter’s thinking on marijuana has apparently evolved to now favor full-blown legalization.

Asked by CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux, “What do you make of the legalization of marijuana in the states that legalized mariuana,” carter replied:

Former President Jimmy Carter's thinking on pot has apparently evolved.
(Getty Images)
“I’m in favor of it. I think it’s OK,” Carter said during a panel discussion that was aired on CNN on Tuesday. “I don’t think it’s going to happen in Georgia yet, but I think we can watch and see what happens in the state of Washington for instance around Seattle and let the American government and let the American people see does it cause a serious problem or not.”

Carter, who has been critical of the war on drugs for some time, participated in a forum sponsored by the Captain Planet Foundation last Friday in Georgia.

Washington and Colorado voted to legalize recreational marijuana last month, becoming the first two states to do so, and putting state laws at odds with federal laws.

Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday that the Justice Department will announce soon its policy on recently passed state measures legalizing the use of marijuana.

Carter said that more drug users do not necessarily result from decriminalizing drugs.

“All drugs were decriminalized in Portugal a few years ago, and the use of drugs has gone down dramatically and nobody has been put in prison,” Carter said.

He added: “So I think a few places around the world is good to experiment with and also just a few states in America are good to take the initiative and try something out. That’s the way our country has developed over the last 200 years. It’s about a few states being kind of experiment states. So on that basis, I am in favor of it.”

Carter was featured in the documentary “Breaking the Taboo” about the failed global drug war. He criticized former first lady Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign.

Former President Bill Clinton also was featured in the film.

Carter told the forum that he wanted to decriminalize marijuana during his presidency.

“When I was president, in 1979 I made my definitive speech about drugs, and I called for the decriminalization of marijuana,” he said. “This was in 1979 — not for the legalization — but the decriminalization to keep people from being put in prison just because they were smoking a marijuana cigarette.”

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