In a recent YouTube video, President Barack Obama discusses his current stance on marijuana reform, and expects that more states will legalize marijuana as states like Colorado and Washington continue to have success.
Within this short clip, Obama gives reasoning for why he thinks the criminal justice system needs to be reformed on a federal level when it comes to marijuana, mostly stemming from the burden that non-violent drug offenders have on taxpayers, and disproportionate arrest rates among minorities.
When asked how America should move forward out of it's current "legal gray area weirdness" surrounding marijuana reform, the President's response is "what you're seeing now is Colorado, Washington- through state referanda- they're experimenting with legal marijuana."
"The position of my administration has been that we still have federal laws that classify marijuana as an illegal substance, but we're not going to spend a lot of resources trying to turn back decisions that have been made at the state level on this issue. My suspicion is that you're gonna see other states start looking at this.
Obama's stance can even be backed by recent statistics courtesy of the Drug Policy Alliance
, which shows more than $51,000,000,000 dollars spent annually on the drug war, and nearly 1.55 million non-violent drug arrests in 2012, mostly marijuana related. In the clip, Obama shows resolve in how his administration plans to deal with these numbers.
"What I'm doing at the federal level, is asking my Department of Justice just to examine generally how we are treating nonviolent drug offenders, because I think you're right."
"What we have done is instead of focusing on treatment- the same way we focused, say, with tobacco or drunk driving or other problems where we treat it as a public health problem - we've treated this exclusively as a criminal problem. I think that it's been counterproductive, and it's been devastating in a lot of minority communities. It presents the possibility a least of unequal application of law, and that has to be changed."
Whether or not President Obama plans on following through with his current sentiment regarding marijuana reform remains to be tested; however, the video does give some much needed hope to the future outlook of cannabis legalization in the U.S.