I'm in favor of legalizing it [marijuana], but I suppose it wouldn't do that much to stimulate the economy (I still don't think it would hurt) ["Obama: Marijuana Legalization Not Good for the Economy," usnews.com]. What Obama implicitly did today was basically say "I don't favor legalizing marijuana." He chose to do this. He wasn't put on the spot. He could have just ignored it, which would have angered some pro-legalization people, but not as much as bringing it up and laughing at them. He could have easily said "I don't think it's going to do much to stimulate the economy, but it might be worth doing for other reasons." This would have been my second favorite answer. Is he just trying to score points with the stuffy straight crowd that think he's too liberal? I noticed a lot of the reporters in the room clapped. Very frustrating, the whole thing.
Comment by Ken of NY
Obama has only been in office a little over 60 days. I am guessing that he is just going to let this one sit for a while. He is already making great movements toward lessening the penalty for "nonviolent" criminals—a step in the right direction. But legalizing marijuana is a very polarizing issue and going into office after only 60 days and promoting legalizing what many, many people think of as a dangerous drug would be idiotic. Give him some time folks.
Comment by Aubrey of WA
This really upset me. There are tons of nonviolent marijuana offenders locked up in prison at [a cost of] $35,000 an inmate per year, in prisons that are overcrowded and experiencing increasing violence because there isn't enough space to house criminals. The marijuana offenders have to be shuffled through law enforcement, the court system, and prisons at great costs. In quipping that he doesn't know about the online community who ventured to ask that question, he insulted a lot of good Americans that came to the Town Hall Q&A and in trust put forth their earnest questions. His derisive rebuke was offensive.
Comment by Allison of CA
It's political positioning. He doesn't want to be seen as soft on crime or irresponsible. It is not yet politically safe for a national politician to be for legalizing marijuana because a critical mass of public opinion is not there yet.
Comment by Tim of NY
People need to express this disappointment in a place where he might see, hear it so that he knows it was considered insensitive to those who are for either medicinal or outright legalization. Funny, alcohol and cigarettes are lethal/destructive in ways that marijuana cannot touch, yet people are fine with those being legal.
Comment by Doug of CA