Barack Obama disagrees with Sheriff Stanek about the dangers of pot
Obama and Stanek don't see eye to eye when it comes to pot.
President Barack Obama takes issue with folks like Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek who contend that smoking pot leads to violent behavior. In fact, POTUS doesn't think smoking marijuana is more dangerous than drinking beer.
Obama made those remarkable comments during a recent interview with The New Yorker, telling David Remnick, "I don't think [pot] is more dangerous than alcohol." In terms of how each of the substances impacts users, Obama went on to say he believes pot is actually less damaging "in terms of its impact on the individual consumer."
Compare those comments with those of Stanek, who wrote in a September op-ed that "there is a direct connection between marijuana and violent crime" and used that claim to argue pot should remain illegal forever and ever.
We left a voicemail with Stanek's public information officer hoping to get the sheriff's take on Obama's remarks, but haven't heard back as this is published.
Despite Obama's comparison of a legal substance (alcohol) with a Schedule 1 drug -- a classification described by the DEA as "the most dangerous class of drugs with a high potential for abuse and potentially severe psychological and/or physical dependence" -- it should be noted he isn't a big fan of marijuana.
"As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life," the president told Remnick. "It's not something I encourage, and I've told my daughters I think it's a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy."
But regardless of whether smoking pot is a waste of time, Obama said he doesn't believe folks should waste their time in jail for doing so.
"We should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing," he said.
He also reiterated his administration's vow not to enforce federal drug laws in Colorado and Washington, where marijuana was recently legalized.
"It's important for [those laws] to go forward because it's important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished," Obama said.
h/t -- Huffington Post
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.