Last updated on: 1/31/2017 | Author:

Barack Obama, JD Biography

44th US President
Pro to the question "Should Marijuana Be a Medical Option?"

“When it comes to medical marijuana, I have more of a practical view than anything else. My attitude is that if it’s an issue of doctors prescribing medical marijuana as a treatment for glaucoma or as a cancer treatment, I think that should be appropriate because there really is no difference between that and a doctor prescribing morphine or anything else. I think there are legitimate concerns in not wanting to allow people to grow their own or start setting up mom and pop shops because at that point it becomes fairly difficult to regulate.

I’m not familiar with all the details of the initiative that was passed [in Oregon] and what safeguards there were in place, but I think the basic concept that using medical marijuana in the same way, with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors, I think that’s entirely appropriate.

I would not punish doctors if it’s prescribed in a way that is appropriate. That may require some changes in federal law. I will tell you that…the likelihood of that being real high on my list is not likely. What I’m not going to be doing is using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue simply because I want folks to be investigating violent crimes and potential terrorism. We’ve got a lot of things for our law enforcement officers to deal with.”

[Editor’s Note: On Oct. 7, 2011, federal prosecutors in California announced their efforts to crack down on medical marijuana dispensaries with “significant commercial operations.” Some medical marijuana proponents believe that these and similar actions of the US Department of Justice reflect a Con position for Barack Obama. Still others say that Obama is Not Clearly Pro or Con medical marijuana given statements like the one from a Nov. 24, 2007 town hall meeting in Audbon, IA:

“My attitude is, if the science and the doctors suggest that the best palliative care and the best way to relieve pain and suffering is through medical marijuana then that’s something I’m open to, because there’s no difference between that and morphine when it comes to just giving people relief from pain. But I want to do it under strict guidelines. I want to make sure that it is prescribed in the same way that other painkillers or palliative drugs would be prescribed. I’m concerned about folks just kind of growing their own and saying it’s for medicinal purposes, because that’s kind of a slippery slope.”

President Obama elaborated his position on the medical marijuana raids in an Apr. 25, 2012 article posted on]

Interview with Editorial Page Editor Gary Nelson, The Mail Tribune, Mar. 22, 2008


Involvement and Affiliations:
  • 44th US US President, Jan. 20, 2009-Jan. 20, 2017
  • Recipient, Nobel Peace Prize, 2009
  • US Senator (D-IL), 2005-2009
  • Member, Environment and Public Works Committee, 2005-2006
  • Member, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
  • Member, Foreign Relations Committee
  • Member, Veterans’ Affairs Committee
  • Member, Illinois State Senate, 1997-2004
  • Attorney, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, 1993-2004
  • Community Organizer, Chicago, 1985
  • Former Teacher, Constitutional Law
  • JD, Harvard University, 1991
  • BA, Columbia University, 1983
  • Twitter handle: @barackobama
Quoted in:
  1. Is Medical Marijuana More Dangerous Than Legal Drugs?