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President Barack Obama declined to go on the offensive against the legalization of small amounts of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, citing a lack of federal resources, the low priority of combating recreational use, and growing public support of relaxed marijuana laws.
In an interview with ABC News on Friday, Obama claimed that “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," reported Reuters.
However, he said he “won’t go that far” when asked if he supported legalization.
Federal authorities are moving to provide clarity to a murky legal situation, as federal laws still prohibit possessing or selling any amount of pot, including in the 18 states that allow medical marijuana.
Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Attorney General Eric Holder will announce the Department of Justice’s new policy on this issue later this week.
Congress is expected to respond soon as well, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy said he plans to hold a hearing soon after Congress meets again in January. The last three presidents have admitted using marijuana as youths, though they later expressed regret.