President's Pot Comments Leave More Questions Than Answers

Dec 14, 2012

President Obama’s first comments about marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado leave more questions than answers. The President tells ABC News that federal agents have “bigger fish to fry” than recreational pot users.

President Barack Obama during an interview at the White House.
Credit The White House

In the interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters, President Obama says about marijuana enforcement: “It would not make sense for us [to go] after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal.”

But that comment does not necessarily reflect a change in federal policy. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Seattle says federal prosecutors there focus on large complex criminal organizations, not smalltime users.

In a statement, Governor-elect Jay Inslee called the President’s words “welcome news,” but said several questions remain. They include how federal authorities will respond to state authorized marijuana growers and sellers.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder indicated earlier this week that the Justice Department will issue a policy “relatively soon” on the new pot legalization laws in Washington and Colorado.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

On the Web:

Video: President Obama discusses marijuana policy (ABC News)