In a wide-ranging and in-depth profile of President Obama, the New Yorker’s David Remnick asked Obama about two specific issues that have been in the news recently — legalized marijuana and the dangers of football.
On the issue of football, Obama told Remnick:
As we talked, mainly about the Middle East, his eyes wandered to the game. Reports of multiple concussions and retired players with early-onset dementia had been in the news all year, and so, before I left, I asked if he didn’t feel at all ambivalent about following the sport. He didn’t.
“I would not let my son play pro football,” he conceded. “But, I mean, you wrote a lot about boxing, right? We’re sort of in the same realm.”
Later in the profile, Remnick asked about the recent successful efforts in several states to legalize marijuana. Obama weighed in:
When I asked Obama about another area of shifting public opinion—the legalization of marijuana—he seemed even less eager to evolve with any dispatch and get in front of the issue. “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 up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
Is it less dangerous? I asked.
… Less dangerous, he said, “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer. It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.”
To be clear, the president thinks that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol, about as dangerous as cigarettes, and would seemingly be more comfortable with his children smoking marijuana than playing football.