Not too long ago, an aide for the Obama administration said that the President does not plan on doing anything new regarding the marijuana policy during his final two years in office. His statement upset some marijuana advocates around the country and on Thursday, President Obama broke his silence. President Obama said on a YouTube interview that he expects to see more states experiment with marijuana legalization.
“What you’re seeing now is Colorado, Washington through state referenda, they’re experimenting with legal marijuana,” Obama said in response to a question posed by Hank Green, who with his brother runs a YouTube channel with nearly 2.5 million subscribers.
“The position of my administration has been that we still have federal laws that classify marijuana as an illegal substance, but we’re not going to spend a lot of resources trying to turn back decisions that have been made at the state level on this issue,” Obama said. “My suspicion is that you’re going to see other states start looking at this.”
“What I am doing at the federal level is asking my Department of Justice just to examine generally how we are treating non-violent drug offenders,” Obama said, adding, “What we have done is, instead of focusing on treatment—the same way that we focused, say, on tobacco, or drunk driving or other problems where we treat it as a public health problem—we’ve treated this exclusively as a criminal problem, and I think that it’s been counterproductive. And it’s been devastating in a lot of minority communities.”
“The good news is we’re starting to get some interest among Republications as well as Democrats in reforming the criminal justice system,” Obama went on. In his view, “There’s just a smarter way of dealing with these issues.”