News / USA

Obama: Feds Won't Go After Marijuana Users in CO, WA

Man smokes marijuana just after midnight at the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington, Dec. 6, 2012.
Man smokes marijuana just after midnight at the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington, Dec. 6, 2012.
VOA News
U.S. President Obama says it does not make sense for federal authorities to seek prosecution of recreational marijuana users in states where such use is legal.
 
He spoke in a television interview with ABC's Barbara Walters airing Friday.
 
When asked if he supported legalizing marijuana, the president said he was not endorsing that.
 
"I wouldn't go that far, but what I think is that, at this point, Washington and Colorado, you've seen the voters speak on this issue," he said.
 
"As it is, you know, the federal government has a lot to do when it comes to criminal prosecutions," Obama added. "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."
 
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. The western states of Colorado and Washington legalized the recreational use of marijuana in ballot measures last month. Other U.S. states have approved the medicinal use of marijuana.
 
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has voiced support for finding alternative ways to solve the drug problem.
 
“We could have fighting and killing over cigarettes if we made it a felony to sell a cigarette to smoke," said Clinton in a new documentary, Breaking the Taboo. "So we legalized them. If all you try to do is find a police or military solution to the problem, a lot of people die and it doesn’t solve the problem.”
 
The former presidents of Brazil and Switzerland, Fernando Cardoso and Ruth Dreifuss, along with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, want to find different ways to solve the global drug problem, such as regulating the trade.
 
“I think a new approach, at least to try to open up, to break the taboo, is what the world should do," said President Santos in the documentary. He added, "There are many alternatives, including the possibility of legalizing drugs.”

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: charles
December 31, 2012 12:05 AM
People shouldn't take what Obama says to Barbara Walters as a policy statement. He's just chatting. The feds may, or may not, go after the implementation of the measures in WA and CO.

The feds have been going after medical pot dispensaries in CA after Holder said they wouldn't. There wasn't any actual executive order to prosecutors, or such a thing.

by: JM Wat from: Maryland
December 14, 2012 3:55 PM
Some drugs should be fully legalized and regulated, like marijuana or mushrooms. ALL drugs should be decriminalized. Meaning, even if it's not legal to use them, the punishment should NOT be jail time or anything on a permanent record, but something like a fine or mandatory rehabilitation. If heroin users went to rehab instead of prison, it'd cost half or a third as much per year, they'd be in there for only a fraction of the time, they'd have a greater chance of kicking the habit, AND they'd have a chance at gainful employment afterwards, which would lessen their likelihood of falling back into drugs. This is really common-sense stuff.
In Response

by: Luis Caldeira from: Portugal
December 16, 2012 7:16 AM
Well, that's the way it is in Portugal.. we may do almost everything wrong, but decriminalizing drugs was the best move Portugal did. We do like JM Wat is saying and class A drug usage tremendously decreased.

by: anonymous from: TN
December 14, 2012 3:39 PM
At least he's consistent, not enforcing immigration either!
In Response

by: omgOBAMA from: urmom
December 15, 2012 8:47 AM
Yes. He's not enforcing immigration laws by deporting more people than Bush.

retard foxnews watchers

by: SteveS from: California
December 14, 2012 2:23 PM
Just what laws does this Administration enforce?
In Response

by: republicans suck from: yestheydo
December 15, 2012 8:48 AM
I know, right. Obama is the worst socialist/fascist President ever. He can't even oppress people the right way.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs