On Monday, Vice published their interview with President Obama and—besides some B-roll of Shane Smith in his safari helmet—it was mostly the kind of thing you'd see on a traditional news network. One key difference, however, was the "number one question" suggested by Vice's audience: What does the President think about legalizing marijuana?
"First of all it shouldn't be young people's biggest priority," Obama told Vice. "Let's put it in perspective. Young people, I understand this is important to you. But you should be thinking about climate change, the economy, jobs. War and peace. Maybe way at the bottom you should be thinking about marijuana."
Of course, for many young Americans, their primary experience with war is the War on Drugs, an expensive, racist enterprise and one of the few armed conflicts the Obama administration could start ending without firing a shot. However, the President did offer some of his clearest comments on the topic, saying that current policy "doesn't make sense" while stopping short of advocating legalization.
"I'd separate out the issue of decriminalization of marijuana from encouraging its use," said Obama, later adding, "I always say to folks, legalization or decriminalization is not a panacea. Do you feel the same way about meth? Do we feel the same way about coke? How about crack? How about heroin? There is a legitimate, I think, concern about the overall effects this has on society, particularly vulnerable parts of our society."
"At a certain point, if enough states end up decriminalizing, then Congress may then reschedule," said Obama.