“If you really analyze it,” Tyson said, “relative to other things that are legal, there’s no reason for it to ever have been made illegal in the system of laws.”
“That is extremely rational, which I expect from you, and you're absolutely right,” replied host Chuck Nice.
“Alcohol is legal,” Tyson added, “and it can mess you up way more than smoking a few J's.”
Nice then spent several minutes ribbing Tyson over his archaic choice of marijuana slang.
“The last time I was like, in a cloud of it? That's how people spoke,” Tyson said.
“The illegality of cannabis is outrageous,” Sagan wrote in an anonymous essay for the 1971 book “Marihuana Reconsidered,” “an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”
Tyson has been more circumspect on the merits of drug use, at least publicly. “I don't count myself among active recreational drug users,” Tyson said in a 2015 Reddit AMA. “For me, the least altered state of awareness I can achieve is the one I seek, because that one is most likely to be closest to reality.”
Tyson's remarks were also similar to ones by President Barack Obama in 2014. “I don’t think [marijuana] is more dangerous than alcohol,” he told the New Yorker. “As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and 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.”
An August Quinnipiac poll found that more than 61 percent of Americans now say marijuana should be legal, 94 percent support the medical use of marijuana, and fully three-quarters oppose the federal government enforcing marijuana laws in states that have legalized it.