He who is without sin can cast the first stone, but when it comes to getting stoned, the president has some wise words for young Americans.
President Barack Obama has been candid about kids smoking weed in high school but thinks young people need to care less about the legalization of marijuana and more about important issues in this country.
"First of all it shouldn't be young people's biggest priority," Obama said during an interview released in full on Monday with Vice. "Young people, I understand this is important to you. But you should be thinking about climate change, the economy and jobs. War and peace. Maybe way at the bottom you should be thinking about marijuana."
Just because Obama isn't for making the legalization of marijuana a top priority doesn't mean the issue is off the table. He acknowledges that this country's pot policy "doesn't make sense" and in the past suggested that rescheduling marijuana should be up to Congress, not the attorney general.
While there are many political issues like war, jobs, the environment and women's reproductive rights that should all be top priorities, that doesn't mean that young Americans will stop caring so much about the legalization of marijuana, especially since many Americans are at the forefront of the war on drugs.
Obama believes that there needs to be reform in our criminal justice system in regards to arresting and imprisoning African Americans for marijuana possession. According to a study from the American Civil Liberties Union, African Americans are 7.5 to 8.5 times more likely than whites to be arrested for possession of marijuana in Washington, D.C., Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois.
Even though he believes reform is needed, he only supports the decriminalization of the drug and not its legalization. He also thinks that if enough states decriminalize the drug, then maybe Congress would change the federal law.
"At a certain point, if enough states end up decriminalizing, then Congress may then reschedule [marijuana]," said the president.
However, just because he thinks pot should be decriminalized doesn't mean he believes kids across America should smoke it. "I'd separate out the issue of decriminalization of marijuana from encouraging its use," he said.
Of course, when it comes to the war on drugs, some are worse offenders than others.
"I always say to folks, legalization or decriminalization is not a panacea," the president said. "Do you feel the same way about meth? Do we feel the same way about coke? How about crack? How about heroin?" He also added that substance abuse, when it comes to smoking weed, is "legitimate."
Even though he believes marijuana shouldn't be a top political issue, he continues to talk about it. On Saturday, at the annual Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, he used marijuana (in his speech) to get some laughs.
"I'm not saying I'm any funnier. I'm saying weed is now legal in D.C.," he said.
Watch President Obama's interview with Shane Smith from Vice below.
Photo: VICE News | YouTube