Obama hints at federal laxity regarding marijuana

In a post HERE the other day, we discussed the inherent conflict between a federal law against the use of marijuana in any circumstance and laws in certain states that allow pot-smoking for medical purposes or even merely for recreation.

Interested parties have been awaiting a signal from the Obama administration on how it might deal with this dilemma. And now an indication of sorts has emerged at the White House, as we see HERE:

In his first public remarks since ballot initiatives passed in Washington and Colorado to legalize and regulate marijuana, President Obama said going after recreational marijuana users in states where it is legal is not a “top priority.”

In excerpts from an exclusive 20/20 interview that airs Friday night, ABC News reports that Obama still does not “at this point” support widespread legalization of marijuana, but that shifting public opinion and limited federal resources are reasons to find middle ground.


In citing the duties of the executive branch to carry out existing laws, Obama suggests he might be supportive of some changes of the law, though he added that he wants to “discourage drug use” and that “there are a bunch of things I did that I regret when I was a kid.” Just yesterday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy revealed that he would be open to softening the federal law prohibiting all marijuana use.

Obama’s comments are a positive signal that the administration is open to shifting attitudes on marijuana legalization and a move away from the harsh crackdowns of the failed War on Drugs. But they are not very dissimilar from his and the Department of Justice’s comments on medical marijuana use in the wake those state laws’ passage, when the Justice Department also said it would not prioritize those compliant with state law, but has since fluctuated on its position.


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