Conflicting messages on marijuana’s effects are coming from the White House website and members of the Obama administration. President Obama made a controversial remark regarding marijuana recently in which he stated, “I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
The official stance on the National Drug Control Policy disagrees and still posts the dangers of the drug on the whitehouse.gov website. The website information reminds readers that pot has more cancer causing agents than tobacco and that those under 21 can suffer brain damage and lowering of IQ with its use.
For the past 70 years the government has placed marijuana in the same category as heroin and cocaine, offering no medical benefit. However, this policy has not taken into account recent medical evidence to the contrary both in the United States and other countries such as Israel. In Israel, the use of medicinal marijuana can be found in government hospitals and senior citizen facilities.
The current director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Richard Gil Kerlikowske, has not issued any statement on the president’s comments. Kerlikowske is due to leave his position and to become the new commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Obama’s recent statements directly undercut the official stance of the ONDCP, which issued a pamphlet for the public titled “Marijuana Myths & Facts: The Truth Behind 10 Popular Misconceptions.”
Rolling out magazine will be keeping a look out for any changes in policy on the White House website. Until then, the public should remember that marijuana is illegal under federal law.