Obama on Marijuana Laws: We Have "Bigger Fish to Fry"

The president said the government will have to discuss contradictory state and federal policies.

Posted: 12/14/2012 04:42 PM EST

President Obama says federal law enforcement agencies have "bigger fish to fry" than to go after marijuana users in Colorado and Washington, the two states that legalized the drug's use in November.

In his interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters, Obama added that the U.S. government will have to discuss the contradiction between state and federal policies. While recreational users are free to light up under state law, federal law says it's still illegal to grow, sell and possess the drug.

In addition to Colorado and Washington allowing the recreational use of marijuana, 18 states and the District of Columbia have legalized its use for medical reasons.

ABC News writes:

"Obama's comments on marijuana are his first following Colorado and Washington voters' approval of Nov. 7 ballot measures that legalize the recreational use and sale of pot in defiance of federal law.

Marijuana, or cannabis, remains classified under the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I narcotic whose cultivation, distribution, possession and use are criminal acts. It's in the same category as heroin, LSD and 'Ecstasy,' all deemed to have high potential for abuse.

Obama told Walters he does not – 'at this point' – support widespread legalization of marijuana. But he cited shifting public opinion and limited government resources as reasons to find a middle ground on punishing use of the drug."

Read the full story here.

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(Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)

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