President Obama Backs Cannabis Decriminalization Efforts

By Eric Bradner, CNN, Published With Special Permission

Washington (CNN)obamaPresident Barack Obama said states could overhaul their laws to discourage marijuana the same way “we’ve been able to discourage a lot of other bad things that people do” — like using tobacco.

His comments to Kansas City-based KMBC during a series of interviews Thursday afternoon with local television stations, the same day that Washington implemented a new law decriminalizing the use of small amounts of marijuana over the objections of some congressional Republicans.

“I think that we have to separate out legalization — there’s a lot of concern about drug abuse of any sort by our children and the general population — versus the heavy criminalization of non-violent drug offenses,” Obama said. “And I think that a lot of states are taking a look to see, do we have proportionality in terms of how we are penalizing the recreational user.”

He said the United States has managed to discourage the use of other harmful products like tobacco without stiff jail sentences.

“I think that’s what every state across the country, including some very conservative states that don’t have a lot of tolerance for marijuana, are looking at,” Obama said, “is do we want to be throwing people in jail for five, 10, 15 years if they’re not major drug dealers but they’re using a substance that’s probably not good for them but is probably not hurting too many other people?”

Obama also repeated his previous stances on the Keystone XL pipeline, which he recently vetoed after Republicans sought to authorize it before the State Department completes a six-year-old review, and international trade.

He touted his administration’s push for a 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership as a way to correct the labor and environmental lapses of past pacts like the North American Free Trade Agreement. And he said the new deal is an opportunity to keep China from setting international rules with other Pacific Rim countries.

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  1. Bless you Mr. President!

    • nagchampa on February 28, 2015 at 1:11 pm
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    “… do we want to be throwing people in jail for five, 10, 15 years if they’re not major drug dealers but they’re using a substance that’s probably not good for them but is probably not hurting too many other people?”

    With the increasing amount of positive medical data about cannabis being released, why on earth do politicians and bureaucrats continue to say herb isn’t good for us? Do they think we don’t read? Are they so narcissistic that they think we’ll continue to believe their increasingly obvious lies instead of independent scientific data?

    It’s not merely the policies about herb making people angry, what’s enraging us is this proof that the people we elected to speak for us have become so narcissistically comfortable lying to us and expecting us to believe them.

    Shame on any elected representative in any nation, who continues to spread these lies instead of placing focus on new science that merely proves what millenia of human use has already implied. In every country in the world, let’s vote every one of these proven liars out of office.

    • Ricky on February 28, 2015 at 11:43 am
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    I am exited to hear the President Of The United States say that he thinks that all 50 states should develop their own Medical Cannabis Laws. No it is important for Voters to contact the elected representatives And Tell Them How u feel on the Need For Change. This Is The Time to Speak Up.

  2. It should be up to the individual. Alcohol and tobacco kill people every day but Marijuana doesn’t and yet they are legal. Making things illegal does not make them go away. It makes criminals and cartels. Patients should not be considered criminals and patients should not have to deal with criminals. This system is broken and is not working. It’s time to fix it!!!!

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