I would have prefered a stronger endorsement but Obama is on the right track with this statement.
"My attitude is if the science and the doctors suggest that the best palliative care and the way to relieve pain and suffering is medical marijuana then that's something I'm open to because there's no difference between that and morphine when it comes to just giving people relief from pain,” Obama said. “But I want to do it under strict guidelines. I want it prescribed in the same way that other painkillers or palliative drugs are prescribed.”
Unfortunately, he then adopts the classic prohibitionist argument and goes on to caution against the 'slippery slope' of using medical marijuana to normalize recreational marijuana use, which is really what we need to do in order to successfully address the problem of drug abuse.
We've got a long way to go, but it's a sign of how far the drug policy movement has come that a major frontrunner is willing to address the issue positively, not to mention the admission of having inhaled himself. In 04, nobody but Kucinich would touch the issue publicly. Maybe by 2012 we'll get high profile candidates willing to admit that responsible recreational use isn't all that threatening either.