Local advocates weigh in on President's remarks on marijuana

Local advocates weigh in on President's remarks on marijuana

Posted:
Cherrie Hammond, who suffers from Barrett's disease and hyper thyroidism, said, "In the past, I smoked marijuana and it helped with my issues." Cherrie Hammond, who suffers from Barrett's disease and hyper thyroidism, said, "In the past, I smoked marijuana and it helped with my issues."
"We fight every day to teach our children that doing drugs is bad and for the President of the United States to say well, it's no worse than alcohol, it kind of goes against everything were fighting for," said Julie Strike from SADD. "We fight every day to teach our children that doing drugs is bad and for the President of the United States to say well, it's no worse than alcohol, it kind of goes against everything were fighting for," said Julie Strike from SADD.
"From a clinical standpoint, one is just as dangerous as the other," said Bill Lee, intervention specialist at Cornerstone. "From a clinical standpoint, one is just as dangerous as the other," said Bill Lee, intervention specialist at Cornerstone.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – In a new interview, President Obama made statements that could put him in the middle of the controversy over legalizing marijuana.

The comments are stirring up controversy locally for both supporters and opponents.

In an interview with The New Yorker, President Obama calls marijuana a "vice" but adds "I don't think it is more dangerous than alcohol."

It's an opinion Cherrie Hammond, who suffers from Barrett's disease and hyper thyroidism, is happy to hear. She is a supporter of legalizing medical marijuana.

"In my own experience, I have consumed alcohol before, my inhibitions were down, there have been times I didn't think I could carry myself. The times I used marijuana, I got things done, I was more productive," explained Hammond. "In the past, I smoked marijuana and it helped with my issues." 

As more states legalize the drug for both recreational and medical use, the President's comments raise alarms for Julie Strike, the state coordinator for Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).

"We fight every day to teach our children that doing drugs is bad and for the President of the United States to say well, it's no worse than alcohol, it kind of goes against everything were fighting for," explained Strike.

A recent op-ed article from SADD discussed the loosening on restrictions on marijuana sales, reading in part, "decriminalization also sends the message that marijuana is harmless, which is not the case."

Strike says they go to schools regularly to teach the dangers of drugs like marijuana.

"It is dangerous in so many ways and that is why it continues to be illegal, it is a stepping stone drug," Strike said.

At Cornerstone of Recovery, a local treatment center, the debate is a bit more complicated.

"From a clinical standpoint, one is just as dangerous as the other," said Bill Lee, intervention specialist at Cornerstone.

At Cornerstone, they have very few people who come in with just a marijuana addiction, compared to the many that come in for alcoholism.

So is pot dangerous?

Lee says it can be, but it doesn't have to be. He says marijuana contains chemicals and when any chemical substance is used as they are supposed to be use, with the appropriate boundaries in place, they are not as dangerous. It's when misuse occurs that problems arise. 

In that interview, President Obama said he told his daughters [smoking pot] is a bad idea. It's a lesson Cherrie Hammond hopes to share with her children.

"I don't want my kids to drink. But they're going to have the right to drink one day. I want to teach them if they choose to do it then they do it responsibly and do it within the confines of the law," Hammond explained.

As for the President, he said it's important that states continue to work through the complicated issue.

Powered by WorldNow

1306 N. Broadway NE Knoxville,
Tennessee 37917

Telephone: 865.637.NEWS(6397)
Fax: 865.525.4091
Email: newsroom@wate.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Knoxville, Inc. A Media General Company.