Jimmy Carter is A-OK with legalizing pot

Carter with Willie Nelson, who claims to have sparked a joint on the White House roof while staying as Carter’s guest in 1980.

Last night on CNN Jimmy Carter said he’s “ok” with Colorado and Washington’s new legal weed laws. Not only that, he’s convinced that they should be testing grounds that ultimately will ultimately lead to nationally legalizing pot.

“All drugs were decriminalized in Portugal a few years ago and the use of drugs has gone down dramatically and nobody has been put in prison,” he said. “So I think a few places around the world is good to experiment with and also just a few states in America are good to take the initiative and try something out.”

Carter’s stance here isn’t really nothing new—he’s been calling for drug decriminalization for years and called for national marijuana decriminalization when he was in office, as he pointed out yesterday: “When I was president, in 1979 I made my definitive speech about drugs and I called for the decriminalization of marijuana.” He points out that full legalization is different than decriminalization, so it is new that a U.S. president is embracing Colorado and Washington’s full-on legalization measures.

But the real take-away here is that it seems we’ve gotten more uptight about pot from a federal policy standpoint even as public opinion has grown steadily more lenient on it. A majority of Americans now say the feds should keep their paws off Colorado and Washington’s new laws, but it’s unthinkable that a U.S. president would now champion pot legalization. Obama is about as far left as we’d go presidentially these days, and even he’s deeply committed to his war on pot.

How things have changed since Jimmy Carter invited Willie Nelson to the White House and he smoked a joint on the roof, in full view of the Secret Service.