President Obama has made history yet again. In an interview published Sunday in the New Yorker he states.
"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. I don't think it is more dangerous than alcohol,"
That statement far outreaches anything said on the side of pro-marijuana by a sitting president.
Marijuana has always been a touchy subject in politic. With growing numbers of the electorate coming out in favor of marijuana’s medical use, or in the case of Washington and Colorado the approval of marijuana for recreational use, politicians can no longer turn a blind eye.
Smoking marijuana leisurely remains illegal under federal law, but Obama's administration has allowed states to regulate their own marijuana laws. President Obama said it was important for the legalization of marijuana to go forward in Washington and Colorado to stop the injustice of a few being punished while a large portion of the public has broken the law at one time or another.
The president also commented on the disparity of how the justice system handles marijuana cases.
"Middle-class kids don't get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do," he said. "And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties."
According to a World Health Organization report on the Global Status of Alcohol and Health, the below figures shows the global distribution of alcohol related deaths:
29.6% - unintentional injuries
21.6% - cancer
16.6% - Cirrhosis of the liver
14% - Heart disease and diabetes
12% intentional injuries
6% neuropsychiatric disorders
No such report exists for marijuana, however the numbers could not be more damning than those for alcohol above.
But we should not simply stop at the decriminalization of marijuana, the use of industrial hemp could bolster our nation’s economy and create thousands of jobs.
Hemp is a hardy and renewable resource, which dominated American fields. Industrial hemp has thousands of practical applications including clothing, health foods, biofuels, construction materials, plastic composites and many others.
We are sitting on a platinum-mine whose prosperity and wealth creation could take our country in a new direction, and while it cannot fix the economy entirely, it could put a pretty big dent in it.