The haze surrounding Jimmy Carter’s position on marijuana legalization has lifted.
Six months after the former president told a Georgia crowd he supported state efforts to legalize marijuana use, Carter told gathering in Atlanta on Friday he supported keeping weed illegal.
“I do not favor legalization,” Carter said, according to a statement from Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “We must do everything we can to discourage marijuana use, as we do now with tobacco and excessive drinking.”
SAM, as the group is known, was founded by conservative writer David Frum and former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.). The group opposes legalizing weed, but supports arresting users and sending them to treatment rather than jail.
Carter’s tune was different in December, when it was widely reported he had backed Washington state and Colorado’s decision to allow residents to legally buy and grow the drug.
“I’m in favor of it. I think it’s OK,” Carter said then. “I don’t think it’s going to happen in Georgia yet, but I think we can watch and see what happens in the state of Washington for instance around Seattle and let the American government and let the American people see does it cause a serious problem or not.”
In his speech Friday, Carter was more cautious about what could happen in Colorado and Washington.
“There should be no advertising for marijuana in any circumstances and no driving under the influence,” he said. “We need to avoid the use of marijuana, particularly among young people.”
One thing is clear: Carter has long favored the decriminalization of marijuana. While still in office in 1979, he called for the drug’s decriminalization. His office echoed that position in a statement to POLITICO in December.
May 17, 2013
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