January 22nd, 2014
02:19 PM ET
11 months ago

White House says Obama’s marijuana policy hasn’t changed

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama remains opposed to a nationwide decriminalization of marijuana, despite his assertion in an interview this week the drug is no more dangerous than alcohol.

“The President's position on these matters haven't changed,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in response to a question from CNN on Wednesday.

In an interview published over the weekend, Obama told The New Yorker he thought marijuana posed no greater risk than alcohol, though he stated he still thought pot was a “vice” and a “bad habit.” Marijuana is currently classed as a schedule 1 drug, the same category as heroin and ecstasy.

He also reaffirmed his belief that prosecution of marijuana offenses overwhelmingly affects minority Americans, a stance Carney underscored.

“There's no question that we've applied our drug laws in a way that has been counterproductive and that there are issues there that need to be addressed,” he said.

Two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized recreational marijuana use. Another 18, along with the District of Columbia, allow some legal pot use, primarily for medicinal purposes.

Obama said in The New Yorker it was important for those states' laws to move forward, calling them "experiments.”

Carney explained Wednesday that didn't constitute an endorsement of the pot laws.

"He's not endorsing any specific move by a state. He's simply making an observation, his position of these matters has not changed," he said.


Filed under: Jay Carney • Marijuana • President Obama • White House
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. sonny chapman

    Why didn't W. ever comment on Cocaine use ?

    January 22, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  2. HenryMiller

    "President Barack Obama remains opposed to a nationwide decriminalization of marijuana, despite his assertion in an interview this week the drug is no more dangerous than alcohol."

    So Obama has no good reason to oppose legalisation of pot, but he opposes it anyway?

    That makes zero sense, but this is Obama we're talking about...

    January 22, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    I'd give him about a decade after he leaves the White House and his girls have grown into young women before he "evolves."

    January 22, 2014 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. just saying

    he spent years smoking the stuff so he should know all about it. given the insanity coming out of his administration i think they are all still smoking it in the basement over there. but i'm sure if there is some campaign money in it for him and the democrats his thinking will 'evolve' very quickly just like it did with gay marriage.

    January 22, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. Tampa Tim

    Medical marijuana has benefits far greater than alcohol, which is primarily used to help republicans dance.

    January 22, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. Tampa Tim

    Remember the Texas drunk who became president? Now there was a compassionate conservative who evolved into a war monger.

    January 22, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    just saying

    he spent years smoking the stuff so he should know all about it. given the insanity coming out of his administration i think they are all still smoking it in the basement over there. but i'm sure if there is some campaign money in it for him and the democrats his thinking will 'evolve' very quickly just like it did with gay marriage.
    ---------------------–
    Trey Radel. He's a *documented* and admitted user of cocaine. Yet, Republicans refuse to disciplne him. Wanna try again?

    January 22, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. Silence DoGood

    @HenryMiller
    "President Barack Obama remains opposed to a nationwide decriminalization of marijuana, despite his assertion in an interview this week the drug is no more dangerous than alcohol."

    So Obama has no good reason to oppose legalisation of pot, but he opposes it anyway?

    That makes zero sense, but this is Obama we're talking about...
    ----------
    If this was not identified as Obama, conservatives would be praising " opposed to a nationwide decriminalization" as States Rights. But of course this is Obama so the knee Jerk ensues.

    January 22, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. Meanwhile, back on Reality Ranch....

    All you clueless dopers should Google: Longmont toddler tests positive for THC

    It wasn't very 'medicinal' for the toddler. A LOT of unintended consequences to this stupid legalization of marijuana.

    January 22, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. Obama - Cokehead of the Year

    Don't worry, he'll change his tune as sure as people wave dollar bills under his nose.

    January 22, 2014 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. Winning

    Very logical Mr. President, it is no more dangerous than a perfectly legal substance, but it should be more illegal than that substance because... well, because... because....

    Dude. Just take a definitive stand on something for once. I voted for the guy twice, but I have to be honest, wishy-washy crap like this makes me regret it sometimes.

    January 22, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. sonny chapman

    Hey Henry Miller-What Obama said gave both sides of the argument. Use of MJ shouldn't be criminalized but it it ain't really good for you. What's so hard about grasping that ? There are none so blind as those who refuse to see. As soon as a word comes out of Obama's mouth SOME leap before they look. For THOSE folks, Obama can't even kiss his daughters Good Night in a manner that they approve.

    January 22, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. simplyput

    Why don't we develop and require drug tests for being POTUS. These need to include pot, cocaine, alcohol, muscle-relaxers, pain-killers, and every addictive substance known to man. Then we can separate the people from the addicts.

    January 22, 2014 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. name. willard

    Yeah before presdient obama was used pot marginia. Also I heard that isreal was charge against terror with foiled us embrassy plot. Repbulic must keep sent impeach for presdient obama

    January 22, 2014 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  15. TONE

    Mr President i will have to call you out on this one you need to get with the programme, and make this cushumpeng legal before a republican does, because they will do anything to get elected to office even if it means going against their conservative principles.

    January 22, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  16. Tampa Tim

    Bullock – I swear, you sound just like Hannity.

    January 22, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. philop

    this is absurd. if drug use is legalised, den d world is prone 2 global disorder.

    January 22, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. smith

    Leagalize it and tax the heck out of it . Maybe the tax dollars can help the people who lost their insurance because of the ACA and are now forced to pay more.

    January 22, 2014 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  19. just spraying

    Well reality ranch is in his own reality, where ever that is. Are you suggesting that this would never happen if it were illegal? Your idea of reality is a bit skewed I'd say.

    January 22, 2014 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. Thomas

    Sometimes change only comes when the stupid die off !

    GW Bush smoked , Bill Clinton smoked , Obama is the first to be real and honest about a policy that didn't work .

    Drunk man goes into a bar and shoots people dead .

    Guy smokes joint ,chokes on burrito watching dancing with the stars .

    January 22, 2014 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  21. chrissy

    Lol i read on an earlier thread that Bill Gates is "pro marijuana" but his question was: can they keep it out of the hands of minors if they legalize it? Well they stopped comments shortly after the put up that thread so i will comment on that here! Its not controlled very well if its ILLEGAL and they still manage to get their hands on it now is it??? Gees! At least this way it will be taxed AND it will create jobs in the US instead of mexico!

    January 22, 2014 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. tom l

    Where's the Choom Wagon? I wanna take a ride....

    January 22, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  23. chrissy

    And @ sonny chapman, loved your post! LOL

    January 22, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Meanwhile, back on Reality Ranch....

    All you clueless dopers should Google: Longmont toddler tests positive for THC

    It wasn't very 'medicinal' for the toddler. A LOT of unintended consequences to this stupid legalization of marijuana.
    ------------------------
    Try a search for this " toddler shoots self ". A kid shot themselves in face last fall and died.

    There are lots of unintended consequeces when people don't wnat to eanct laws that would hold parents responsible.

    January 22, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |