Obama: Drug Legalization ‘Worth A Serious Debate’

Ryan Grim
Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — Drug legalization is an “entirely legitimate topic for debate,” President Barack Obama said Thursday during his online YouTube town hall, in response to a question from a former deputy sheriff who has turned sour on the drug war.

In endorsing such a debate, Obama went further than any president has since the start of the war on drugs, which can be traced back at least to President Richard Nixon, but more realistically to the early 20th century, when the federal government began criminalizing drugs that had long been legal.

Obama, who said again toward the end of his answer that drug legalization is “worth a serious debate,” lent legitimacy to a policy area that has long been relegated to the “unserious” corner of American political discourse.

His answer indicates an evolution in his administration’s approach to the question of legalization. In the past, Obama has not treated the issue with the same respect.

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