WASHINGTON, D.C. – 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.
Statement from Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project, the nation’s largest marijuana policy reform organization and the primary funder of the successful Colorado initiative:
“The president has acknowledged that it should not be a priority of the federal government to arrest marijuana users. The only question left is whether these users should purchase marijuana in a state-regulated market or from drug cartels. The people of Colorado and Washington clearly expressed their desire for a regulated market.
“Now it is time for those states and the Obama administration to determine how to work together to advance that state-based system without frustrating legitimate federal interests. We look forward to having this conversation with White House and Department of Justice officials.”