Does Obama's opinion of marijuana use differ from yours - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Does Obama's opinion of marijuana use differ from yours

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WASHINGTON (WBAM) -- Make no mistake, under federal law marijuana remains a Schedule I substance; it is in the same category as heroin and LSD.

Yet two states -- Washington and Colorado -- have legalized the sale and use of marijuana, and more than 20 others states have either approved medical use or have lessened penalties for marijuana possession.

Now President Barack Obama is quoted in the New Yorker as saying that he doesn't think marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol. The President is on record that he smoked marijuana as a young man, but he calls it "a bad idea." 

Obama told the magazine: "It's important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished."

The president went on to say that "middle class kids don't get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do." 

When it comes to harder drugs, the president's view changes.

He says the harm to users and the social costs are profound. Obama says people who think "legalizing pot will solve social problems are probably overstating the case."

Many states are working to try to follow in the steps of Washington and Colorado in decriminalizing the sale and use of marijuana. It can mean big bucks -- possibly being a $10 billion industry by 2018 by some estimates. 

The Huffington Post reported pot shop owners in Colorado made over $1 million in sales statewide on the first day of legalized recreational marijuana sales earlier this month. 

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