President Barack Obama is obviously feeling good about approval ratings that show he's currently more popular than all of the current presidential candidates. He's feeling so good, in fact, that he let down his guard on the subject of marijuana, and made this joke at last night's White House correspondents' dinner: "...in my final year my approval ratings keep going up. The last time I was this high I was trying to decide on my major."
Obama has admitted to smoking marijuana when he was younger, which he made joking reference to during the 2013 correspondents' dinner. "But the problem is that the media landscape is changing so rapidly. You can't keep up with it. I mean, I remember when Buzzfeed was just something I did in college around 2 a.m."
But he's become much more conservative about marijuana with age. He's been a relatively progressive president on the issue by doing things like defending the rights of states that have legalized on their own. But the White House, under his watch, has still remained firmly opposed to legalizing marijuana at the federal level.
And as of yet, he hasn't indicated he'll change a federal drug classification that says marijuana is as dangerous as heroin. Right now, cannabis is listed alongside heroin and LSD as a Schedule I drug, which means it's highly addictive and has no medical value, according to the federal government. Changing it to Schedule II would allow it to be recognized and studied for its medicinal value.
It's certainly nice to see Obama lighten up, but Marijuana Majority founder Tom Angell told the news web site ATTN: that Obama needs to take more seriously the plights of people who have been unfairly prosecuted for minor marijuana offences.
"It's fine to joke about the old days, but let's not forget that students in Obama's America today are losing financial aid and having to drop out of college for doing the exact same thing the president laughs about once doing himself," said Angell. "He didn't get caught, but the marijuana prohibition policy he senselessly continues to support leads to hundreds of thousands of harmful arrests every year."
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