Obama Says Feds Won’t Smoke Out Marijuana Users
Baku-APA. US President Barack Obama said that American law enforcement agencies will not target recreational marijuana users in two states that recently legalized the drug, which the federal government classifies as an illicit controlled substance, APA reports quoting Ria Novoti.
“We’ve got bigger fish to fry,” Obama said in an interview set to air Friday on the US television network ABC. “It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal.”
Voters in Colorado and Washington last month approved state ballot measures legalizing marijuana, putting them in direct conflict with federal drug laws.
It is now legal in the two states for people over the age of 21 to use and possess the drug in limited amounts. Colorado has also legalized limited cultivation of marijuana.
But residents and officials in the two states have been waiting for clues from the Obama administration about whether they risk being prosecuted by federal law enforcement authorities for taking advantage of the new state laws.
Obama said in the interview that he does not support widespread legalization of marijuana in the United States “at this point,” ABC reported on its website.
“This is a tough problem, because Congress has not yet changed the law,” Obama was quoted by the network as saying in the interview.
“I head up the executive branch; we're supposed to be carrying out laws. And so what we’re going to need to have is a conversation about, ‘How do you reconcile a federal law that still says marijuana is a federal offense and state laws that say that it’s legal?’”
Obama, who has admitted to smoking marijuana in his teens, said in the interview that he wants “to discourage drug use.”
“My attitude is, substance abuse generally is not good for our kids, not good for our society,” he said.
Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, said this week that the US Justice Department would likely announce its policy in response to the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado “relatively soon.”
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