Marijuana, treatment groups react to President's message on pot - FOX Carolina 21

Marijuana, treatment groups react to President's message about pot

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GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Local groups are reacting to President Barack Obama's statements made about marijuana in a recent magazine interview.

President Obama told The New Yorker, "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 through a big chunk of my adult life.  I don't think it's more dangerous than alcohol."

Supporters for reform of marijuana laws are lauding his statements as a "game-changer" in the effort to relax criminal prosecution of marijuana cases.

"I do think it'll open more eyes and make the conversation go deeper," said Sharon Ravert, executive director of Peachtree NORML, a Georgia-based marijuana law reform group.

Meanwhile, drug treatment specialists said the statements range anywhere from downplayed to dangerous, adding that alcohol is a dangerous substance.

"Even using (marijuana) casually or recreationally still creates harm to the body and still harms the brain," said Adam Brickner with the Phoenix Center, a Greenville-based drug treatment center.

Both sides said President Obama's statement should spark a larger conversation about marijuana - its benefits and its dangers, and the reality of how prevalent the use is.

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