For two years now, President Obama has been answering the questions of The People using YouTube as his platform. One of the most frequent questions asked in each of these conferences was on Obama’s view of the legalization of drugs, specifically marijuana.
In the past, Obama has skirted these questions, either laughing them off or ignoring them all together, which was a shame. But this year he finally addressed this topic head on in a clear cut manner.
It was MacKenzie Allen, a retired police officer from Medford, Mass., who finally broke through the wall of silence with her question, “Sir, do you think there will or should come a time for us to discuss the possibility of legalization, regulation, and control of all drugs, thereby doing away with the violent criminal market as well as a major source of funding for international terrorism?”
“Well, I think this an entirely legitimate topic for debate,” Obama said. “I am not in favor of legalization. I am a strong believer that we have to think more about drugs as a public health problem. When you think about other damaging activities in our society – smoking, drunk driving, making sure you’re wearing seatbelts – you know, typically we’ve made huge strides over the last 20, 30 years by changing people’s attitudes.”
“And on drugs,” he continued, “I think that a lot of times we have been so focused on arrests, incarceration, interdiction that we don’t spend as much time thinking about how do we shrink demand.”
An interesting response to a complex question. We here at AllTreatment have naturally been interested in this topic, would the legalization of drugs help the status of the drug cartels in Mexico, or other such organizations around the world? While seeking out a response, we asked Sylvia Longmire, an expert on the Cartels in Mexico (you can read the full interview here), and her answer was essentially, when alcohol prohibition was lifted the gangs were still around, simply less well funded, thus they began seeking new forms of under the counter income, which is surely what will happen with the lifting of drug prohibition.
This is a complex issue with viewpoints ranging all over the field. What are your thoughts? How do you feel about Obama’s response? What do you think should be done in terms of drug legalization?