Obama Says Individual Marijuana Consumers in Colorado and Washington Are Not Priorities

In an interview released today, President Obama said that going after marijuana consumers will not be a priority of the federal government in states such as Colorado and Washington, where voters approved ballot measures this November making marijuana legal for adults. He also highlighted the need for a conversation about how to reconcile state and federal marijuana laws.

Marijuana officially became legal in Colorado on Monday after Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the voter-approved initiative into law. The measure adopted by voters in Washington went into effect last week. The initiatives also direct the legislatures of both states to create regulations in order to establish a legal market for businesses to cultivate and sell marijuana to adults.

While it is heartening to see Obama reiterating his position on not spending federal resources going after individuals, this does not represent a significant change in policy. Federal policy has not focused on them for some time, as most possession cases are dealt with at the state and local level.

The question is how the implementation of market regulations will be treated. It is time for the Obama administration and the governments of Colorado and Washington to determine how to work together to advance those state-based systems without frustrating legitimate federal interests. We look forward to having this conversation with White House and Department of Justice officials.

It seems like such a conversation is more possible than ever before, and supporters of reform should be cautiously optimistic. As Dominic Holden at The Stranger put it:

Obama is, if nothing else, encouraging more conversation about marijuana legalization instead of promising to shut it down. And the more people talk about this issue, the more it wins.

 

5 thoughts on “Obama Says Individual Marijuana Consumers in Colorado and Washington Are Not Priorities”

  1. As a 30 year addictions professional and a professional addictions futurist, I projected 3 years ago that it was very likely that the liberals and progressives would be using the most logical and scientifically viable decision to give legal, regulated, and taxed marijuana an opportunity to prove its value in society and in creating jobs, GDP, and tax revenue. My speculation was that it might be within 2 months before the election. I still suspect that it was held as an ace if it was a last minute need. It wasn’t, however; this favorable move by the Obama administration opens the door to a part of what is needed to make a turnaround in our nation’s current economic dilemma. A gradual move into some socioeconomic progress backed by sound neurobiopsychosocial research will help the general public better accept a very positive move by the current administration. Although the conservatives were aware of this prior to the election, they could not muster the backing to make the move prior to the election. This has been a conservatives money-maker, created by a conservative president and they just could not let go and say that the War on Drugs has been a total failure held onto by the RNC for 40 years. Tough luck but the truth is the truth and the international “Money-go-Round” is beginning to come unraveled. Let’s see how this plays out. With proper handling, this can be good, not only for the U.S. but, good for international socioeconomics.

  2. We now have the framework for moving forward on ending this insanity,,personal use and small personal grows. The feds have always depended on local law enforcement to control grows under 100 plants and they have neither the resources or manpower to investigate and prosecute millions of 6>12 plant grows.

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