Obama says marijuana should be treated like “cigarettes or alcohol”

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the Lao National Cultural Hall in Vientiane, Laos, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the Lao National Cultural Hall in Vientiane, Laos, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(KWQC) – President Obama says it would be “much smarter” for the U.S. to treat marijuana like tobacco or booze.

“I am not somebody who believes that legalization is a panacea.  But I do believe that treating this as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol, is the much smarter way to deal with it,” Obama says in an interview with Rolling Stone published Tuesday.

Obama notes that currently marijuana possession is effectively legal in some states while in other states still carries a potential prison sentence and says enforcing a “patchwork” of laws is “untenable.”

“This is a debate that is now ripe, much in the same way that we ended up making progress on same-sex marriage,” Obama says.  “There’s something to this whole states-being-laboratories-of-democracy and an evolutionary approach.  You now have about a fifth of the country where this is legal.”

The President, who says substance abuse should be discouraged, hinted he may be more vocal on marijuana regulation after he leaves office.

“I am now very much in lame-duck status. And I will have the opportunity as a private citizen to describe where I think we need to go.”

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