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Obama: Going after marijuana smokers is not a 'top priority'

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President Obama, who smoked marijuana often in high school, said recreational pot smoking in states that have legalized the drug isn’t a big concern for his administration.

“We’ve got bigger fish to fry,” Mr. Obama said of marijuana smokers in Colorado and Washington, the two states that have approved recreational use. “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.”

In an interview with ABC News, the president told Barbara Walters that he regrets smoking pot when he was younger.

“There are a bunch of things I did that I regret when I was a kid,” Mr. Obama said. “My attitude is, substance abuse generally is not good for our kids, not good for our society.”

He said enforcing federal drug laws in Colorado and Washington is a “tough problem” because Congress hasn’t addressed the situation yet.

“I head up the executive branch; we’re supposed to be carrying out laws,” he said. “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?”

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said in a speech Wednesday that he would soon announce a policy on the new state laws. Mr. Obama said he does not support legalization of marijuana “at this point.”

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About the Author
Dave Boyer

Dave Boyer

Dave Boyer is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times. A native of Allentown, Pa., Boyer worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 2002 to 2011 and also has covered Congress for the Times. He is a graduate of Penn State University. Boyer can be reached at

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