Tags: Barack Obama | Marijuana Legalization | young | voters | priorities | reforms

Obama to Young Voters: Don't Obsess About Marijuana

By    |   Monday, 16 Mar 2015 10:51 PM

President Barack Obama says young voters have their priorities upside down if their biggest concern is legalizing marijuana.

In an interview posted Monday, Vice Media chief executive officer Shane Smith tells the president that if he legalized marijuana it would be the "biggest part of your legacy."

"Let's put it in perspective," Obama lectures. "Young people, I understand this is important to you. But you should be thinking about climate change, the economy, jobs. War and peace.

"Maybe way at the bottom you should be thinking about marijuana."

He warns that legal marijuana isn't the solution to the problem of drug abuse.

"Do you feel the same way about meth?" he asks. "Do we feel the same way about coke? How about crack? How about heroin? There is a legitimate, I think, concern about the overall effects this has on society, particularly vulnerable parts of our society."

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The president says advocates have to distinguish between legalization and decriminalization, as a bipartisan effort for criminal justice reforms includes calls for decriminalizing marijuana.

"Substance abuse generally, legal and illegal substances, is a problem," Obama says. "Locking somebody up for 20 years is probably not the best strategy."

Obama admits he's interested in "decriminalization" of the use of marijuana, pointing out its terrible effect on minority communities, making those with criminal records involving marijuana unemployable.

But he also says he's encouraged by the "libertarian wing" of the Republican Party and its support for decriminalization of non-violent offenders.

If enough states began decriminalizing marijuana, Obama says, maybe Congress would be willing to act. He warned, however, that political leaders will have to be careful while exploring their options.

"I always say to folks, you know, legalization or decriminalization is not a panacea," he says.

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President Barack Obama says young voters have their priorities upside down if their biggest concern is legalizing marijuana. In an interview posted Monday . . .
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2015-51-16
Monday, 16 Mar 2015 10:51 PM
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