Former President Carter Favors States Legalizing Marijuana

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Former President Jimmy Carter delivers keynote address on "Perspectives on Inter-American Relations" during the 16th annual conference of Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 06, 2012. (credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Former President Jimmy Carter delivers keynote address on “Perspectives on Inter-American Relations” during the 16th annual conference of Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 06, 2012. (credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Former President Jimmy Carter backs states legalizing marijuana.

Speaking to a CNN forum, Carter believes decriminalizing marijuana is a road the United States should go down.

“I’m in favor of it. I think it’s ok,” Carter said. “I think we can watch and see what happens in the state of Washington for instance … and let the American government and let the American people see if it causes a serious problem or not.”

Carter – who championed the decriminalization of marijuana while he was running the White House – says legalizing drugs has had a positive impact on some countries.

“All drugs were decriminalized in Portugal about 10 years ago and the use of drugs has gone down dramatically and nobody’s been put in prison,” Carter told the panel.” So I think a few places around the world is good to experiment with and also a few states in America are good to take the initiative and try something out.”

Carter added that legalizing marijuana would cut down on the prison population, especially among minorities.

Two states, Colorado and Washington, passed measures on Election Day to legalize pot.

Officials from both states have reached out to federal authorities to see if they planned to sue to block the state pot measures. There’s been no signal, with federal authorities simply repeating that the Controlled Substances Act remains intact.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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