Published on March 22nd, 2015 | by News Feed
President Obama Says Marijuana Reform Might Be Inevitable
In the past, President Obama has strategically avoided answering any questions related to marijuana prohibition or possible cannabis reform. He has seemed mostly unconcerned about this issue when the press tried to get his opinion. However, in a recent interview with Vice News, the President finally loosened up enough to make a few statements about cannabis in the United States and he even ventured to make some predictions about what the future might hold for marijuana reform on Capitol Hill.
President Obama said that as more states begin to decriminalize and even legalize marijuana, it puts added pressure on federal lawmakers to reconsider their stance. At some point, the scales will tip and so many states will legalize that Congress has no choice but to reconsider the federal laws. But even if that happens, Obama said he feels confident that changes would be limited to criminal justice. Lawmakers might lessen the sentence for nonviolent drug offenders or even consider changing pot to a Schedule II drug to allow easier access to medical marijuana. But he doesn’t think lifting prohibition will be on the table anytime soon.
“We may be able to make some progress on the decriminalization side,” Obama said. “At a certain point, if enough states end up decriminalizing, then Congress may reschedule marijuana.”
Obama’s statements come on the heels of Rand Paul and a handful of colleagues pushing for new legislation that would reclassify cannabis to a Schedule II drug. It does make you wonder if the President is aware of upcoming changes that the rest of the country doesn’t yet know. In the very least, his comments could be a sign of bipartisan cooperation.
Ultimately, President Obama said he wishes young people would worry less about marijuana reform and concentrate on issues that he believes are much more important. “Let’s put it in perspective. Young people, I understand this is important to you. But you should be thinking about climate change, the economy, jobs, war, and peace. Maybe way at the bottom you should be thinking about marijuana.”
But is President Obama missing the point here? If marijuana prohibition was lifted, what would that mean for our economy? We could see thousands of new jobs, new opportunities for marijuana growers and dispensaries, a boom in small business, and perhaps a second industrial revolution.