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.
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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.