Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

January 26, 2014

ED VASICEK: President helps diminish perception of pot's risks

Obama equates marijuana to cigarettes

The snowy, cold weather is a great time to enjoy homemade soup. We invited our fictitious friend, Emil, to join us. Why? Because his fictitious wife was out of town.

“I sure love beef barley soup,” Emil commented. “Especially when we have a real winter like this one.”

“Yep, that’s how we think too,” I replied. “I made my biggest pot full of it.”

“Speaking of pot,” Emil continued, “What do you think of President Obama’s endorsement of marijuana?”

“Well,” I responded, “I think it will be just like the gay marriage thing. All of a sudden, lots of people will trash their convictions and pretend like they never thought otherwise. Although people gripe and complain when they talk to pollsters, a lot of Americans follow President Obama like the Pied Piper when it comes to moral or social issues.”

“What was it that President Obama said?” Marylu inquired.

Emil answered, “I brought the clipping with me. Printed off the Internet. According to the Christian Science Monitor, ‘President Obama spoke out on marijuana in an interview with the New Yorker released Sunday. He told David Remnick, the magazine’s editor, that pot is not any more dangerous than alcohol or tobacco in terms of its impact on individuals.

“‘“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,” Mr. Obama said.’”

“Hard to believe that the president would say such a thing,” I added. “It is one thing to say that he smoked marijuana and regretted it, but to say it is the same as smoking a cigarette or taking a drink is basically saying we have been wrong all these years to make marijuana illegal. All the billions we’ve spent on enforcement was money wasted, and the massive amounts of time spent in jail by offenders was wrong.”

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