In an interview with Barbara Walters, President Obama stated federal law enforcement officials and prosecutors should not make Colorado and Washington laws legalizing marijuana a "top priority" in the war on drugs.
The interview, which will air Friday night on ABC's 20/20, marks the first public comments made by the President regarding the November 6th passage of referendums legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Washington.
On Monday, Digital Journal reported that former President Bill Clinton said the current war on drugs is not working. The report also pointed out that former President Jimmy Carter had proposed decriminalizing the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in 1977.
President Obama stopped short of calling for nation wide legalization of marijuana “at this point,” but did admit that the government must decide how to handle the conflicting state and federal laws.
Saying "we have bigger fish to fry, the President told Walters
"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."
The Obama administration has asked Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department to look at the legal questions surrounding the conflict between state and federal drug laws.
He went on say in the interview:
"This is a tough problem, because Congress has not yet changed the law. I head up the executive branch; we're supposed to be carrying out laws. And so what we're going to need to have is a conversation about, how do you reconcile a federal law that still says marijuana is a federal offense and state laws that say that it's legal?"