Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers:
Texarkana Gazette, Jan. 21, 2014
President sends wrong message with political ploy
President Barack Obama smoked marijuana as a young man.
And he doesn’t deny inhaling.
Furthermore, he doesn’t consider the drug any more harmful than alcohol.
Speaking to the New Yorker magazine in an interview released Sunday, the president called pot a “bad habit” and a “vice,” similar to cigarettes.
“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,” he said.
But, he added, he had warned his daughters against using marijuana, telling them it was a “waste of time.”
The president also brought a bit of class warfare into the New Yorker interview_as he is wont to do_saying that poor kids go to jail for smoking marijuana, while middle-class kids do not.
He praised Colorado and Washington for their recent efforts to legalize and regulate recreational pot sales and use_calling such experiments “important.”
But he cautioned there could be some unintended consequences.
If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, ‘Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka,’ are we open to that?” he asked.
Just a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable for a sitting president to make such statements. But poll after poll shows Americans are more open to legalizing marijuana than ever before.
And that is likely the reason for the president’s remarks.