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Attorney General Eric Holder told a Senate committee Wednesday that all drugs, including alcohol, are “potentially harmful.” He was responding to a question about whether he agreed with President Obama’s recent comment that smoking marijuana was less dangerous than alcohol “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.”

Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, in a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said, “It’s difficult for me to conceive how the President of the United States could make such a statement.” President Obama made his comment about marijuana in an interview with The New Yorker. He told the magazine he does not think marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol. He added smoking marijuana is “not something I encourage.”

He acknowledged he smoked marijuana in his youth. “I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life,” he said. Obama added he has told his daughters he thinks smoking marijuana is “a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.”

CNN reports Holder told the Senate committee, “I think that any drug used in an inappropriate way can be harmful. And alcohol is among those.” Marijuana is illegal under federal law. Colorado and Washington state have approved the recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 and older. At the hearing, Holder reaffirmed that the federal government will not challenge state laws legalizing marijuana, and will focus enforcement efforts on preventing marijuana use in minors.


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