Obama was asked about marijuana legalization while in Jamaica, and here's how he responded

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

What would Bob do?

President Obama might be asking himself that very question after an exchange he shared during his trip to Jamaica this week.

Miguel "Steppa" Williams, who had the chance to speak to the President at a town hall in Kingston, made the case for legalizing marijuana and hemp production, Agence France-Presse reports.

"Give thanks! Yes, greetings, Mr President," Williams said, "life and blessings on you and your family."


Williams posed the question to the President, saying that he wanted to "overstand and understand" the U.S. position on Jamaica legalizing ganja.

He didn't get a straight answer from Obama, however.

"I am a very strong believer that the path that we have taken in the United States in the so-called 'War on Drugs' has been so heavy in emphasizing incarceration that it has been counterproductive," he said.

Instead of offering his own view on legalization, he passed the buck to other folks in Washington.

"I do not foresee, any time soon, Congress changing the law at a national basis," he said.

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

Obama also warned that legalization might not provide a solution in combating drug trafficking in the Caribbean and Latin America.


"I have to tell you that it's not a silver bullet, because, first of all, if you are legalizing marijuana, then how do you deal with other drugs and where do you draw the line?" he said.

He also warned that small, local marijuana producers could eventually be overrun by huge corporations.


"If you think that big multinational companies are not going to suddenly come in and market and try to control and profit from the trade," he said. "that's, I think, a very real scenario."

This wasn't the first cannabis-related headline the POTUS made during his 24-hour visit to Jamaica. After arriving on Wednesday, Obama visited the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, saying that he had been a big fan since high school.


Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.

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