A banner showing Obama smoking cannabis. However, hopes that Obama would be a more tolerant drug warrior have gone up in smoke. | Reuters
A banner showing Obama smoking cannabis. However, hopes that Obama would be a more tolerant drug warrior have gone up in smoke. | ReutersReuters

In an exclusive interview with The New Yorker magazine, President Barack Obama revealed that he used to smoke pot - a habit which he says is as bad as smoking cigarettes. His view may be taken as a sign that the dialogue now should be on about breaking the illusion of 'cannabis high.' 

In the 1960s, marijuana came to represent the counterculture of free love,long hair and bell bottoms, and it has gone on to survive the restrictions.

America welcomed the year 2014 with a remarkable first, by legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado and Washington. Recently, Massachusetts became the 18th state to allow its use for medicinal purposes, along with a dozen other states in the country.

Even as the process of legalization is on, there are still areas and people, who consider smoking cannabis a taboo. In retrospect, what has really the restrictions on sale of marijuana done, it has only fueled an illegal economy that often proves dangerous - for a select few.

In principal, when Obama accepts that he had done it too, he breaks the inequality in the system. "Middle-class kids don't get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do. And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties...we should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing," the president noted in the New Yorker interview.

After moving on from accepting that marijuana use is widespread, it is time to face the reality - that it is just as bad as smoking cigarettes or drinking, but not something for which people should be locked up for.

The president 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."

"...in terms of its impact on the individual consumer. It's not something I encourage, and I've told my daughters I think it's a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy," Obama points out.

In short, when President Obama says he has done it would mean that it is time that the public started talking about better control over marijuana use, instead of still debating over the virtues of smoking it. 

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