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Obama open to limited legalization

From NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan
OBAMA WEEKEND CAMPAIGN NOTEBOOK
AUDUBON, IA -- Obama can't seem to escape the smoke of his youthful indiscretions wafting after him on the campaign trail. Just four days after he told a group of high school students that he had experimented with drugs in high school, Obama had to admit to it again at a town hall here.

When a voter asked Obama if he was for the legalization of medical marijuana, Obama said that he wasn't in favor of legalization without scientific evidence and tight controls. Citing his mother who died from cancer young, Obama compared marijuana to morphine saying there was little difference between the two.

"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."

But he added that he was concerned that the reasons for the use of marijuana would grow and create a "slippery slope."

"I was feeling really tense, so I needed a joint," Obama joked with the crowd of those who might try and undermine that type of system.

The question was followed up by another voter asking him, "Unlike other presidents, did you inhale?"

"I did," Obama said to loud applause and laughter. "It's not something that I'm proud of. It was a mistake … But you know, I'm not going to.  I never understood that line. The point was to inhale. That was the point."