Obama supports marijuana decriminalization, current laws represent double standard

It is widely known that President Barack Obama has smoked marijuana. He recently has stated that he views it as a “bad habit and a vice.” However, he went on to say, “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

The president also addresses that it is mostly minorities and people with lower incomes who are put in jail. Although the he doesn’t encourage the use of marijuana, (he even told his daughters, “it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, and not very healthy”), he has decidedly adopted the position for decriminalization of marijuana.

This is a welcoming position for many Americans, including myself, who believe that marijuana should be decriminalized. Too many young people are jailed for holding small amounts of the drug, and these offenses haunt them for the rest of their lives; just because someone smokes marijuana when they are young does not mean that they will become a failure in life.

The fact that the president smoked marijuana when he was younger and went on to be the most highly-elected official speaks against the notion that marijuana will make a person useless and destroy their future.

We’ve all heard former President Bill Clinton’s excuse that he smoked it “but didn’t inhale.” Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger even smoked the herb when he was bodybuilding and later legalized it for medicinal use when he was in office. Clinton and Schwarzenegger are accomplished people, despite smoking weed in their younger days.

The notion that marijuana should be decriminalized is an accurate one based on the disproportionate amount of minorities, lower-income people, and lack of middle-class people being locked up for possessing even small portions of the drug.

It is an often overlooked double-standard, but a large one: elected officials have used marijuana in the past, but then choose to enforce laws that incarcerate people who have repeated the officials’ very actions.

The president agreed that there is a double standard when he said, ”we should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing.”

Now, I’m not saying that if an elected official is a user of cocaine or meth that we should all be able to go out and do those drugs. However, studies have shown marijuana to not be as harmful as already legal drugs, such as cigarettes and alcohol, so adults that are of age should be allowed to make their own choices on the matter.