Obama won’t pursue marijuana arrests in CO & WA

After Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana in November, many wondered how the Obama administration would react.

Those working on legalization said that they believed the Obama administration would probably leave those states alone. In an interview with Barbara Waters, it sounds like that will be the case. In light of the free ride for HSBC with laundering money for drug cartels, leaving people alone is the least the administration could do.

This is a big step for legalization efforts around the US.

In a Barbara Walters interview airing Friday on ABC, Obama was asked whether he supports making pot legal.

“I wouldn’t go that far,” Obama replied. “But what I think is that, at this point, Washington and Colorado, you’ve seen the voters speak on this issue.”

But the president said he won’t pursue the issue in the two states where voters legalized the use of marijuana in the November elections. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

“… as it is, the federal government has a lot to do when it comes to criminal prosecutions,” Obama said. “It does not make sense, from a prioritization point of view, for us to focus on recreational drug users in a state that has already said that under state law, that’s legal.”

On a related note, Senator Leahy is seeking clarification on how to deal with states that choose to legalize marijuana. As a country, we have too many important issues to be bother with something that voters find perfectly acceptable and legal.

Marijuana

Marijuana via Shutterstock

Leahy pressed the drug control office, which is part of the White House, on how it intends “to prioritize federal resources” in light of the new state laws and whether the administration can guarantee that it will not prosecute state officials who are involved in the licensing process.

“What assurance can and will the administration give to state officials involved in the licensing of marijuana retailers that they will not face federal criminal penalties for carrying out duties assigned to them under state law?” Leahy wrote.

Leahy also said Thursday that he will call a Judiciary Committee hearing early next year on those questions and others involving marijuana policy.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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