“I think this is an entirely legitimate topic for debate. I am not in favor of legalization. I am a strong believer that we need to think about drugs as a public health problem. When you think about other damaging activates in our society… drunk driving, seatbelts…typically we’ve made huge strides in the last 30 years by changing people’s attitudes…We don’t spend enough time thinking about shrinking demand. That’s something within the White House we’re looking at very carefully."
“Can I just interrupt, Jared, before you ask the next question, just to say that we -- we took votes about which questions were going to be asked and I think 3 million people voted," he said to aide Jared Bernstein. "I have to say that there was one question that was voted on that ranked fairly high and that was whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy -- (laughter) -- and job creation. And I don't know what this says about the online audience -- (laughter) -- but I just want -- I don't want people to think that -- this was a fairly popular question; we want to make sure that it was answered. The answer is, no, I don't think that is a good strategy -- (laughter) -- to grow our economy in 2009."