The consequences - for others. (photo: :Dar./flickr)

Details from a new book Barack Obama: The Story contains in-depth details about his frequent marijuana use as a young man. Although Obama admitted to using marijuana in his memoir Dreams From My Father, we now learn for example that Obama was a frequently indulging aficionado who was a big fan of hot boxing in cars. While Obama’s past marijuana use is treated as merely a funny anecdote, his hypocrisy on the issue of marijuana and the destruction his continued support for prohibition causes is no laughing matter.

In 2010 roughly 850,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana related offenses of which the vast majority was for possession. That means since Obama took office it is likely well over 2.5 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana. Millions arrested for committing the same basic “crime” our President often committed during his youth.

While Obama was lucky enough not to get a criminal record for his mostly harmless marijuana use, hundreds of thousands of other Americans this year were not as fortunate, especially young African American and Latino males who are disproportionally arrested at much higher rates for marijuana. Many of these young people will be burdened with a records that could permanently hurt their employment prospects and they will lose the federal support they need to attend college.

If Obama were a young man today and got arrested for his marijuana use under our currently policy, the negative consequences from such an arrest could easily have stopped him from ever becoming President. Clearly, the actual use of marijuana didn’t hurt Obama by making him less successful, but the consequences of our prohibition easily could have. But not only does Obama support maintaining this current drug policy, which is more damaging to people than the drug itself, but his administration has taken the federal war against medical marijuana to new heights.

While most of the media treats learning that Obama liked to hog the joint as a humorous but meaningless little story, it should be a huge scandal that Obama continues supporting a policy which ruins the lives of so many for doing something Obama did frequently.

With public opinion moving against marijuana prohibition so quickly, Obama should be forced to give a better explanation for why he thinks it is okay to waste billions every year punishing so many for doing exactly what he once did.