In a 2014 New Yorker interview, President Barack Obama said, “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.”
Were his comments accurate? Cannabis industry attorney Christian Sederberg says yes, that it’s a scientific fact.
President Obama marijuana comments: What else does POTUS say about pot?
Weed news and interviews: Get podcasts of The Cannabist Show.
Subscribe to our newsletter here.
Watch The Cannabist Show.
Peruse our Cannabist-themed merchandise (T’s, hats, hoodies) at Cannabist Shop.
“What [POTUS] said was that, on an individual basis, marijuana use…moderate marijuana use is…possibly less harmful than moderate alcohol use,” Sederberg says. “And that is a scientific fact.”
Sederberg points out that a larger issue is that messages to kids about the dangers of marijuana should be mentioning alcohol, as well. “There are studies that show a reduction in IQ if you use alcohol in high school,” he adds. “So the idea that we spend a lot of money and create programs where we’re not educating youth on both alcohol and marijuana use, we run the risk of doing a disservice and possibly harm.”