President Obama doesn’t plant to try to override state laws in Washington state and Colorado, where voters on Election Day legalized the use of marijuana.
The decision echoes a decision last spring to forgo deporting illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children.
In both cases, the rationale offered by the administration is that it must prioritize which laws to enforce given limited federal resources.
Obama offered up his verdict on state marijuana laws during an interview with Barbara Walters of ABC.
At this point, Washingon and Colorado, you’ve seen the voters speak on this issue. And as it is, the federal government has a lot to do when it comes to criminal prosecutions. It does not make sense from a prioritizaiton 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 . . . We’ve got bigger fish to fry.
Notice that all of a sudden Obama is a states rights fanatic!
Obama suggested he opposes legalizing marijuana, albeit tepidly, saying, “I wouldn’t go that far.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today said it’s Obama’s responsibility to enforce the law, except when it’s not.
It is certainly our responsibility and his responsibility and the executive branch’s responsibility to enforce the law. It is also the responsibility of law enforcement agencies at the federal level to make — to have priorities in the enforcement of the law. And that is certainly his position.
Here’s a portion of the interview with Walters.