Barack Obama disagrees with Sheriff Stanek about the dangers of pot

Categories: Drugs, Obama, Police
ObamaStanek.jpg
Obama and Stanek don't see eye to eye when it comes to pot.
President Barack Obama takes issue with folks like Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek who contend that smoking pot leads to violent behavior. In fact, POTUS doesn't think smoking marijuana is more dangerous than drinking beer.

SEE ALSO: R.T. Rybak says he smoked his share of pot in high school, but it left him depressed

Obama made those remarkable comments during a recent interview with The New Yorker, telling David Remnick, "I don't think [pot] is more dangerous than alcohol." In terms of how each of the substances impacts users, Obama went on to say he believes pot is actually less damaging "in terms of its impact on the individual consumer."

Compare those comments with those of Stanek, who wrote in a September op-ed that "there is a direct connection between marijuana and violent crime" and used that claim to argue pot should remain illegal forever and ever.

We left a voicemail with Stanek's public information officer hoping to get the sheriff's take on Obama's remarks, but haven't heard back as this is published.

Despite Obama's comparison of a legal substance (alcohol) with a Schedule 1 drug -- a classification described by the DEA as "the most dangerous class of drugs with a high potential for abuse and potentially severe psychological and/or physical dependence" -- it should be noted he isn't a big fan of marijuana.

"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," the president told Remnick. "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."

But regardless of whether smoking pot is a waste of time, Obama said he doesn't believe folks should waste their time in jail for doing so.

"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," he said.

He also reiterated his administration's vow not to enforce federal drug laws in Colorado and Washington, where marijuana was recently legalized.

"It's important for [those laws] to go forward because it's important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished," Obama said.

h/t -- Huffington Post

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.


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73 comments
bob3434
bob3434

From the NIH site:


Alcohol as a gateway drug: a study of US 12th graders.


RESULTS:

Results from the Guttman scale indicated that alcohol represented the "gateway" drug, leading to the use of tobacco, marijuana, and other illicit substances. Moreover, students who used alcohol exhibited a significantly greater likelihood of using both licit and illicit drugs.

bob3434
bob3434

And this is why I dont consult a sheriff for a medical decision.  

Raleigh Kirschman
Raleigh Kirschman

Rebellious behavior, yes, but not necessarily violent. Unless you count resisting arrest as violent.

Matt Norris
Matt Norris

the only violent behavior that pot has associated with it is the selling of it by gangs... you know how to take that away from gangs... legalize it.

Jason Gabbert
Jason Gabbert

People in law enforcement, the judicial system and corrections have job security because of arcane drug laws. It's big, big business. These people are scared of drug legalization because it means they'll have to actually go get a job that requires some skills.

MRGASSO
MRGASSO

Stankneck needs to smoke a joint! The last thing ANY AMERICAN should want is ANY KIND OF LAW ENFORCEMENT dictating the LAW. There you have a return to Nazi Germany! Stanek, Mind your own fucking business which is keeping Hennepin Countie's thugs locked up. That's All!

Yonder Sunsplash
Yonder Sunsplash

and not to mention but they know and we know it but alot of it does not come from cartels or thugs, around here we got good 'ol boys and girls being farmers and with pot on the verge on being available legally ...it's not in cartels/gangs best interest to mess with it

Ellae Wilson
Ellae Wilson

Yeah. So do I and I wish MN would legalize it, 'cause I'm not breaking any laws, but it sure would be nice to have a cheap medically helpful alternative.

Cliff Spab
Cliff Spab

That sheriff is a fucking idiot....

Jacob Wambli Apawia Mani
Jacob Wambli Apawia Mani

The recent Colorado marijuana legalization is not part of organized crime or no causes of death due to any of it's users so far constitute a statistic fallacy.

Bill Seurer
Bill Seurer

I am sure glad that alcohol never leads to violent behavior!

John Leiferman
John Leiferman

I disagree with Obama on almost everything he has done and his many broken promises. Even the fact that he had to bring race into his pot arguement. Sure, the reason it was made illegal was based on racial hatred of Mexicans, but that has nothing to do with why it should be legal. That being said. The sheriff is an overpaid shill of the prison industrial complex. If he thinks weed is worse than booze, he should be fired because he is either an idiot or a liar.

Jeremy Martin
Jeremy Martin

The cops want their DEA funding and the ability to steal your property because they claim it's drug related. As with everything, follow the money to understand.

Jeff Skinner
Jeff Skinner

Sheriff Richard's "gateway drug" theory is dead, bloated, and floating in the water. The "gateway" statistics are taken solely from drug and alcohol rehab centers. The odds are pretty fucking good the addict smoked a pregame cheeb if they're in rehab for meth use.

Reid Diebel
Reid Diebel

If he considers eating food, listening to music, chillin with friends, watching TV, or playing game violent.. then heck yeah.. violence all the way! Who's with me? lol

Danielle Henkels
Danielle Henkels

Matthias Weigel that's exactly what I've been saying for years too. All the drug war has brought is new drugs that are even worse because they are made from poison and not natural substances... And Sivleboon, go for the prayer. You remember when Jesus turned water into wine? And considering cannibis is a naturally growing substance, I'd say God meant for humans to have it if they wanted it. I'm all for legalization and taxing it. I still wouldn't partake, but let others do it. Better than the drug dealers making out like bandits and the benefits to farmers would be immense too. Growing the plants would help the soil and crop rotations...new product markets for clothing, better than tearing down all our forests...so many benefits to the legalization...and maybe we'd avoid whatever is going to come after bath salts and meth...

Danielle Henkels
Danielle Henkels

I personally know a couple of them. Heck, one of them I'd rather be around when he's smoked a little...and for sure would prefer him on that than alcohol!

Danielle Henkels
Danielle Henkels

I've tried to vote him out the last couple elections...unfortunately people are stupid and keep voting for him.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

Obama's comments once again illustrate why he is a great President.  Just imagine what we could accomplish with a useful Congress and if Republicans would stop trying to actively sabotage the United States.   I know he has said stupid stuff in the past about pot but such sensible comments from the President now will do so much good in the long run.  The War on Drugs, especially marijuana, has been a complete failure.  

_Joe_
_Joe_

Law enforcement makes a killing on property forfeitures related to drug crime.  If you legalize pot you take away a huge part of their gravy train.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

To be fair I've murdered between 10-15 people while high on the devil's smoke.  Also it forces me to listen to that jazz music and dance about.   I know someday I'll be dancing to HELL!!!!!!

viokand
viokand

I guess you can not accuse him anymore of BIG GOVERNMENT.

Kathy Johnson Anscomb
Kathy Johnson Anscomb

Having grown up in the 60s I find it very hard to believe that pot smoking leads to violent behavior! That is beyond absurd!

Todd Ray
Todd Ray

How about being poor? Disenfranchised? bullied? Some people who use any substance can become violent. What about alcohol????? Lets talk about real reasons why people become violent

Danielle Henkels
Danielle Henkels

Anyone who thinks pot leads to violent behavior obviously has no clue. If we are worried about violent altered states we should go back to Prohibition and actually legalize pot. As long as the pot isn't laced with anything else, people aren't going to get violent from it. It's the fact that it's illegal and can be bought from people that might lace it that can cause the violence.

Jason Palm
Jason Palm

CBS local news reported last night 76% of Minnesota residents want it legalized. Hopefully it makes the ballot! Done deal! Out with the moronic opposers who will not be re elected with that kind of prehistoric thinking.

Danielle Henkels
Danielle Henkels

The drugs that make people violent are the synthetic things made with poison that were created because pot is illegal...everything they make illegal has worse consequences of an even worse drug coming from it...meth, bath salts...who knows what is next.

Danielle Henkels
Danielle Henkels

I've always said I would rather be in a room full of pot heads vs a room full of drunks. The only way I might be in trouble in the room full of pot heads is if I have a bag of Doritos I'm not sharing...and even then they would probably be too lazy to get violent over it. Would be more like puppies begging!

Nick Longworth
Nick Longworth

Violent toward the pizza out of the oven that is still too hot, maybe.

Wayne Raiter
Wayne Raiter

It helps to keep people stupid and uninformed. He gets more tax money and continues to "dumb down Americans. Test another lie told to further an agenda. How sad

Natalie Goodwill
Natalie Goodwill

And if it were legal, violent gangs and drug cartels wouldn't be competing for territory... problem solved!

Robert Crist
Robert Crist

yey or is it all that money you get to stop the pot....please we know your lying...

Erik Unstad
Erik Unstad

Probably because they are, except the thug drug dealers that smoke their own supply. But that's the only exception

Glen Hanson
Glen Hanson

Nice to see progressive minded and informed individuals protecting our people..... Flowers > Poison.... #knowyourfacts #doyourhomework #beastrongerleader

Jessica Rivera
Jessica Rivera

I can agree with that = obviously I think pot smokers are harmless

Matthew Martin
Matthew Martin

This is like asking how an insurance agent feels about bad weather and hail storms. He may not like it, but it's hard to say he doesn't benefit from drug charges.

Erik Unstad
Erik Unstad

My guess is the Sheriff was referring to the violence caused by competing local drug dealers and the through the cartels. If that's not what he was referring to, then he is a crazy man

Ross Hiltner
Ross Hiltner

I can't count how many people I've gotten into fights with and people I've crashed into high on weed. Wait...that's pizza I crash into high on weed. Not people. ;)

TruDat
TruDat

@MicheleBachmann

Obama is a hypocrite, he knows pot isn't harmful, but he will keep in illegal to cater to the lawyers and other louts who profit from it. And, it's not the Republicans who want to tell people what to eat, drink, and smoke.

viokand
viokand

Legalizing it means taxing it, the government will obviously make more money and will eliminate the un taxed black market sales.

TruDat
TruDat

It was the CIA that was lacing pot with paraquat back in the 60's, not the sellers. That was some evil doings!

TruDat
TruDat

I imagine at least that many  Minnesota voters want liquor sales on Sunday, also. The doesn't stop the politicians from keeping it off the ballot. 

_Joe_
_Joe_

@viokand Correct.  My point was that you'll never get law enforcement behind legalization because they're currently reaping huge benefits from it being illegal.

Not only that, but for the most part, stoners are easy pickings for law enforcement.  If you take those away, they'd have to chase real criminals and that would be an awful lot of work.

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