Federal marijuana laws can change if enough states reform – Obama

Obama's Latest Opinon on Marijuana

Federal marijuana laws can change if enough states reform – Obama

President Barack Obama said he is starting to see liberals and conservatives recognizing that current marijuana laws don’t make sense, and how costly it is to incarcerate individuals for non-violent drug offenses.

In an interview with Vice Media co-founder Shane Smith, President Obama seemed to initially dismiss the topic of marijuana legalization, telling Smith he understands interest in the drug before arguing that the issue “shouldn’t be young people’s biggest priority.”

Young people should care about “climate change, the economy, jobs, war and peace,” Obama said. Maybe at the bottom of that list, he added, “you should be thinking about marijuana.

Still, Obama said he would separate out the issue of criminalization of marijuana from encouraging its use. He said there is no question the criminal justice system is heavily centered on cracking down on non-violent offenders, and that the policies have had a terrible effect on many communities, in particular communities of color. That has made a lot of people unemployable because they received felony records and disproportionate sentences.

This practice is “rendering a lot of folks unemployable because they’ve got felony records, disproportionate prison sentences. It costs a huge amount of money to states and a lot of states are figuring that out,” Obama told Vice.

We may be able to make some progress on the decriminalization side. At a certain point, if enough states end up decriminalizing, then Congress may then reschedule marijuana.”

Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, which means it has a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use. It’s in the same category as heroin and LSD.

Last week, Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill that would reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II drug, which has lower potential danger and recognized medical benefits.

What I’m encouraged by is you’re starting to see not just liberal Democrats, but also some very conservative Republicans recognize this doesn’t make sense – including the libertarian wing of the Republican Party,” said Obama.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Twenty-three states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Four states, as well as D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana.

However, when it comes to full-blown legalization, Obama said there are still concerns that have to be thought through.

I think there is a legitimate concern about the overall effects this has on society, particularly vulnerable parts of our society,” Obama said. “Substance abuse generally, legal and illegal substances, is a problem. Locking somebody up for 20 years is probably not the best strategy, and that is something we have to rethink as a society as a whole.”

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U.S. Senators Introduce Historic Bill to Allow Full Legalization of Medical Marijuana

Full Legalization of Medical Marijuana

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Full Legalization of Medical Marijuana byThree U.S. senators unveiled a new bill today that would effectively end a federal ban on medical marijuana, according to multiple sources.

New Federal Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced

The proposed senate bill, which was introduced by Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), will allow legal medical marijuana patients “to continue participating in those programs without fear of federal prosecution,” according to a joint statement from the senators’ offices.

dan riffleWhile the bill’s future acceptance is uncertain, its creation could help Senator Rand Paul stand out from the crowd going into the upcoming 2016 presidential election. If the senate bill passes, it will act as a green light for many entrepreneurs and investors who have been waiting patiently for the federal government to take a stance on the issue.

“Several marijuana policy reform bills have been introduced in the House of Representatives. The introduction of this legislation in the Senate demonstrates just how seriously this issue is being taken on Capitol Hill,” stated Dan Riffle of the Marijuana Policy Project, which first informed reporters of the legislation.

Sen. Rand Paul Supports Medical Marijuana Legalization

Speaking out about the need to legalize marijuana is nothing new for Rand Paul, who has slowly become an outspoken advocate for the green movement in recent years.

Senator Rand Paul“Look, the last two presidents could conceivably have been put in jail for their drug use, and I really think, you know, look what would have happened, it would have ruined their lives. They got lucky, but a lot of poor kids, particularly in the inner city, don’t get lucky. They don’t have good attorneys, and they go to jail for these things and I think it’s a big mistake,” said Rand Paul.

Public opinion has shifted dramatically toward legal marijuana in recent years. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have already implemented laws that legalize and regulate marijuana for medicinal purposes. Additionally, a recent Pew poll found 63 percent of Republican Millennials favor marijuana legalization.

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