To be blunt, there seems to be a clear implication in Obama's statement that violence is sort of okay as a solution to social problems. The full speech is available over at the October 3, 2012 Daily Caller and includes this piece of typical racist, leftist nonsense:
“Among African American males, one third to one fourth [are] caught up in the criminal justice system,” he noted, “so that the number of young men incarcerated exceeded the number enrolled in colleges and universities.” Obama called that situation a matter of “inequality up, trust in mutuality down.”
“It’s hard to imagine that the powerful in our society would tolerate the burgeoning prison industrial complex,” Obama claimed, “if they imagined that the black men and Latino men that are being imprisoned were something like their sons.”
Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2012/10/03/obama-in-2002-wealthy-embrace-nonviolence-because-they-want-to-make-sure-folks-dont-take-their-stuff/#ixzz28OTLNHoIExcept guess what? In many Western states, like Idaho, like Utah, most of the prison inmates are white men. The powerful in these states would love to have a solution that would empty out the prisons, and not just because the inmates are "something like their sons." There is a real interest in preventing these tragedies, by fixing the underlying causes of these problems, both because there is a very real human cost to the crimes that send people to prison, and because there is a very real economic cost to doing so.
And guess what? The motivation for drug laws is exactly this desire to solve the underlying causes. You may not think that drug laws are a good solution. I think of them as a poor solution, but at the core, the support for drug laws is built on the desire to prevent teenagers and young adults from doing the incredibly stupid things that intoxication and addiction often causes: murder; rape; child abuse; aggravated assault; prostitution; traffic accidents; fraud; robbery; burglary. You can disagree with the solution, without assuming that the motivations are the "prison industrial complex."
UPDATE: Let me emphasize that nonviolence as a strategy isn't just something that benefits "rich people" (by which, I suspect, State Senator Obama meant people that own their own homes, and own cars that don't need $2000 worth of repair to be emissions legal). It benefits poor people as well, because the net effect of the enormous violence of inner city neighborhoods is suffering and poverty--but Obama, like other radicals, doesn't want to admit that the bulk of the violence problem in America isn't white racists, or rich capitalists, but young black men in poor neighborhoods killing each other, while robbing, raping, and brutalizing their black neighbors who are trying to make something of their lives.