Jacob Sullum on the Prohibitionist Backlash Against Obama's Marijuana Comments



Pot prohibitionists reacted with dismay to President Obama's observation that marijuana is safer than alcohol—not because it was false, says Jacob Sullum, but because it was true. As measured by acute toxicity, accident risk, and the long-term health effects of heavy consumption, marijuana is clearly safer than alcohol. That does not mean smoking pot poses no risks, or that drinking is so dangerous no one should ever do it. It simply means that the risks posed by alcohol are, on the whole, bigger than the risks posed by marijuana. So if our drug laws are supposed to be based on a clear-eyed evaluation of relative risks, Sullum writes, some adjustment would seem to be in order.