WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Thursday said America’s long-running prohibition of drugs serves an important purpose, but advocated for “shifting resources” away from incarcerations of “nonviolent, first time drug offenders.”
“I think this is an entirely legitimate topic for debate,” Obama said from the White House during an interview broadcast live on YouTube.
But, he added, “I am not in favor of legalization.”
His remarks came in response to a videotaped question from retired deputy sheriff MacKenzie Allen about whether the drug war may be counterproductive by way of fueling violence in market pushed underground.
“We have to go after drug cartels that are not only selling drugs but also creating havoc on the US-Mexican border,” Obama said. But he added that drugs should be treated as a public health issue and that the United States would benefit by spending less time and money jailing offenders.
“On drugs, 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 we shrink demand,” he said.
The Associated Press reported last May that “[a]fter 40 years, the United States’ war on drugs has cost $1 trillion and hundreds of thousands of lives, and for what? Drug use is rampant and violence even more brutal and widespread.”
“The president talks a good game about shifting resources and having a balanced, public health-oriented approach, but it doesn’t square with the budgets he’s submitted to Congress,” said Neill Franklin, a retired Baltimore narcotics cop and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP).
“Still,” Franklin added, “it’s historic that the president of the United States is finally saying that legalizing and regulating drugs is a topic worthy of discussion.”
The question about the drug war, which came from a member of LEAP, was voted the most popular ahead of the interview. All but a few of viewers’ 200 top-rated questions touched on different aspects of the drug war.
Obama’s remarks reflect an unchanged stance but different tone on the issue than in 2009, when he was asked about drug legalization and responded: “I don’t know what this says about the online audience — but, no, I don’t think that is a good strategy to grow the economy.”
Former Fox & Friends co-host Clayton Morris flees the US as he faces two dozen lawsuits
Facing more than two-dozen lawsuits alleging he committed real estate fraud, former "Fox & Friends Weekend" co-host Clayton Morris has reportedly fled the United States, according to the Indianapolis Star.
Morris, who previously resided in a $1.4 million home in New Jersey, moved his family to a coastal resort town in Portugal, the newspaper reported, citing a Facebook post from his wife.
Morris's wife and business partner, former MSNBC anchor Natali Morris, told the IndyStar that she and her husband plan to continue fighting the lawsuits from abroad.
Trump defenders argued his latest tweets weren’t really racist — but he just completely undercut their arguments
If you try to defend President Donald Trump, you will always end up having the rug pulled out from underneath you. It's a law of nature.
And yet, so many of the president's allies have failed to learn this simple lesson. So when Trump launched a new attack at progressive Democratic lawmakers that was one of his most obviously racist smears, inevitably, some of his defenders tried to deny the obvious truth.
His screed attacked a group of women who have come to define the left wing of the Democratic caucus, which includes Reps. Ilhan Omar (MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Rashida Talib (MI), and Ayanna Pressley (MA). Though only Omar is an immigrant (she was a refugee from Somalia as a child), Trump seemed to assume all four women of color weren't born in the United States, and most egregiously, he suggested they should "go back" to other countries:
UK prime minister hopefuls slam Trump tweets — but refuse to call them racist
The two candidates vying to become Britain's next prime minister both condemned on Monday US President Donald Trump's xenophobic tweets about progressive Democrat congresswomen as "totally offensive" and "totally unacceptable".
But front-runner Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt refused to call the tweets racist when pressed to do so during their last debate before next week's announcement of who will succeed Prime Minister Theresa May.
May's spokesman had earlier said that the outgoing leader's view was that Trump's comments were "completely unacceptable".
On Monday Trump doubled down on a series of his tweets from the day before urging the four congresswomen of colour to "go back" to the countries they came from.