During an interview with CNN that aired Friday, President Barack Obama explained that it’s Congress’ job to remove marijuana from the government’s list of Schedule I Controlled Substances, if anyone were to do it. The President also reiterated his stance on marijuana during the interview, alluding to the fact that he might support Congress making such a decision.
In reaction to the President’s recent interview in the New Yorker, where he said he does not believe marijuana is more harmful than alcohol, CNN asked Obama whether he would push to have marijuana rescheduled.
Obama responded, “First of all, what is and isn’t a Schedule I narcotic is a job for congress.” The President explained that the DEA is ultimately the body that determines Scheduling, but it does so based on the laws passed by Congress. During the interview, Obama would not explicitly express his support for congressional action to reschedule marijuana.
However, he then added, “I stand by my belief, based, I think, on the scientific evidence, that marijuana, for casual users, individual users, is subject to abuse, just like alcohol is and should be treated as a public health problem and challenge. But as I said in the interview, my concern is when you end up having very heavy criminal penalties for individual users that have been applied unevenly, and in some case, with racial disparity.”
Obama did end the interview with a warning, implying that both marijuana prohibition and full legalization can have their pitfalls. “But I do offer a cautionary note,” Obama told CNN. “…Those who think legalization is a panacea, I think they have to ask themselves some tough questions, too, because if we start having a situation where big corporations with a lot of resources and distribution and marketing arms are suddenly going out there peddling marijuana, then the levels of abuse that may take place are going to be higher.” Continue reading....