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Obama says going after marijuana 'not a top priority' (+video)

Marijuana remains an illegal drug under federal law even though voters in Colorado and Washington State recently approved ballot measures legalizing small amounts of pot for adults.

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Regarding marijuana – Americans’ largely illegal recreational drug of choice – Barack Obama has two roles.

As president, he’s sworn to uphold the laws of the land, which include a federal prohibition on the sale and possession of marijuana. And as the father of two children headed for high school, he advises his girls not to do as he did when he was a teenager – smoke dope with his friends.

But Mr. Obama also has to weigh the evolving political backdrop for US drug policy, which includes growing public acceptance of marijuana as the kind of substance that should be allowed for adults while being strictly regulated and taxed like alcohol.

In an interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters to be broadcast Friday evening, Obama said, “We have bigger fish to fry.”

“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,” he told Ms. Walters. 

In last month’s elections, voters in Colorado and Washington State approved ballot measures legalizing small amounts of marijuana for adults over 21. Also on Election Day, Massachusetts joined 17 other states that allow the medical use of marijuana.

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