- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Some members of Congress are at a loss over whether the Obama administration plans to enforce federal marijuana laws or allow states to continue to move forward with their legalization efforts.

Rep. John Mica said Wednesday on CSPAN’s “Washington Journal” that the Obama administration has sent mixed messages on the issue with the president suggesting he is open to state legalization efforts, while the drug control policy office and the DEA has come out against legalization.

“We are trying to sort out what is the policy of the administration as it is now faced with many states passing legal use of marijuana, first for medical purposes, now recreational purposes,” the Florida Republican said, adding that pot is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug, making it illegal for anyone to manufacture or distribute the drug.

Mr. Mica described the administration’s approach as a “schizophrenic policy” and said “it is a policy in chaos.”

The remarks came after he chaired a hearing Tuesday on state and federal marijuana laws, where Michael Botticelli, the deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, testified that the “administration continues to oppose attempts legalize marijuana and other drugs.”

But President Obama — who has acknowledged using pot in his youth — recently said in an interview with The New Yorker Magazine that that marijuana may be less dangerous a drug that alcohol and said that it is “important” for legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington to “go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”

Recent polls show that a majority of Americans now support the legalization of marijuana, and some Republicans say the issue should be left to the states, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a likely 2016 presidential contender.

Asked Tuesday what he took away from the hearing, Mr. Mica said Wednesday that “we learned there was a lack of policy by the Obama administration.”

Mr. Mica said that he “probably” does not have a problem with medical marijuana, but that there are still a lot of questions about whether the federal government should allow the recreational use of the drug.

He said use of pot by kids has spiked under the Obama administration and said it is time to reverse that trend.

“We are going downhill in controlling the abuse of marijuana with young people,” he said.