Friday, March 27, 2009

Obama says no to legalizing pot

President Barack Obama, a savvy politician, played it safe when asked about legalizing marijuana Thursday. He said he was against it, at least when it comes to helping the U.S. economy.
Legalizing marijuana is one of those third rails in American politics. Like Social Security reform, most politicians stay clear of it. It’s never seriously discussed. Even the topic of medical marijuana for cancer patients and others is a tough one to raise. Decriminalizing pot? Forget about it.
Meanwhile, the endless war on drugs continues to waste taxpayer money. Drug lords are getting rich and using violence and government corruption to get their product to market.
During an online townhall meeting Thursday, Obama said the question of legalizing marijuana was a favorite among people who submitted questions to the White House for the event.
Reuters covered the event:

“I have to say that there was one question that was voted on that ranked fairly high, and that was whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy and job creation,” he said to laughter at the White House event.
“And I don’t know what this says about the online audience,” Obama said, tongue-in-cheek. “This was a fairly popular question. We want to make sure that it was
answered.”
“The answer is, no, I don’t think that is a good strategy to grow our economy,” he said before moving back to a more sober discussion of unemployment and healthcare reform.

Obama was wrong to dismiss the idea as if it were a joke. He ran for president saying he planned to correct the failed policies of the past. He can start with the “war on drugs.” And the first step is not to dismiss an idea that’s apparently popular with a sizable audience.
For the record, I should state that I don't smoke marijuana or patronize prostitutes, even though I've advocated for their legalization here. I just believe that people should make their own moral choices on those things.

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