There's a lot going on in David Remnick's 17,000-word profile of Barack Obama in this week's New Yorker, but his statements about the legalization of marijuana are getting all the attention:
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. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.
Perhaps more surprising was that he seemed to be more open to legalizing marijuana:
Accordingly, he said of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington that 'it's important for it 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.
Now, Obama isn't quite going so far as to give the legalization of marijuana his full-throated endorsement (unlike his statements on the NSA in both the article and last Friday), but this is a shift compared to his December 2012 interview with Barbara Walters. Then, he said that fighting marijuana crime wasn't a "top priority," but he "wouldn't go that far" to say it should be legalized. Now he's saying it's "important" that legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington "go forward."