Last week President Obama commented on the recent legalization of marijuana for adults in Washington and Colorado. He told ABC News cracking down on potheads wouldn't be a priority of the Justice Department under his watch, and we noted the situation on The Daily Weekly.
For those looking for "Hope" on the subject, it's interesting Obama chose to say, "This is a tough problem, because Congress has not yet changed the law." Does this suggest Obama believes Congress will enact such a change at some point? And, of far more importance, if he does believe Congress will eventually change federal marijuana policy, is this something he's willing to push for under his watch, or merely something he predicts will happen down the road ... like, say, in 2050 when we're all driving flying Jetsons cars?
Based on Obama's track record, it's likely the latter.
The other issue raised in Obama's comments on weed is the question of priorities and what they mean. Certainly, it seems safe to conclude the feds will not start busting dudes with $20 sacks taking bong hits in the comfort of their own home. Such actions will not be a "top priority" of the Justice Department. That's a positive - and fairly predictable - development. But busting recreational, small-time pot users has never really been a priority of the feds - they go after the big fish, to borrow from own Obama's rhetoric.
The real question is - and has always been - what will the Obama administration do about those producing and selling the weed, be it medical marijuana dispensaries, cooperative grows, those inevitably looking to cash in on marijuana's newfound legality, and - most important of all, at least here - the state itself once I-502 is at full strength and Washington officially gets into the weed business?
The post inspired feedback from Daily Weekly commenter tonyspesso, who writes:
good story! an interesting side note on his quote:"This is a tough problem, because Congress has not yet changed the law," Obama said. "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?'"
the answer to his question is...handle it the same way you are handling the illegal immigration issue. how about a "dream act" for recreational marijuana. the marijuana "dream act" constitutes removing marijuana from the federal controlled substance schedule!!! problem solved. correct?