Obama Signals Support For Changing Course In Federal War On Medical … – Huffington Post

In an interview that will air for the first time this weekend as part of CNN’s latest installment of its medical marijuana documentary series “WEED 3,” President Barack Obama signals support for medical marijuana and for rolling back the federal government’s war on drugs.CNN’s chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, a vocal supporter of the legalization of medical marijuana, asks Obama in the documentary if he supports the goals of a historic Senate bill introduced in March that seeks to make several major changes in federal law, including drastically reducing the federal government’s ability to crack down on state-legal medical marijuana programs, encouraging more research into the plant and reclassifying marijuana as a less dangerous drug.”You know, I think I’d have to take a look at the details,” Obama began in response, “but I’m on record as saying that not only do I think carefully prescribed medical use of marijuana may in fact be appropriate and we should follow the science as opposed to ideology on this issue, but I’m also on record as saying that the more we treat some of these issues related to drug abuse from a public health model and not just from an incarceration model, the better off we’re going to be.”
Obama went on to use current tobacco policies as an example of a model the United States could employ to move away from its punitive approach to drug users.”One of the great victories of this country has been our ability to reduce incidences of smoking, increase the incidences of seat belt use,” Obama said. “You know, we save tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of lives every single year. We didn’t throw anybody in jail; we just made sure that they were well-informed and if somebody has an addiction, we made sure that we made it easy for them to get help. And I think we need to re-emphasize that approach, because we don’t want to encourage our kids to engage in drug use, but there are going to be more effective ways than, too often, the approach we’re taking today.”The U.S. has the largest prison population in the world — housing 25 percent of the globe’s prisoners, but only 5 percent of the total world population. That figure has been boosted by often harsh and lengthy sentences for nonviolent drug possession or distribution crimes. According to research from the Sentencing Project, …Read More

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