White House: Obama doesn’t favor medical marijuana ‘at this point’

August 21, 2013

White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday that President Obama doesn't favor changing medical marijuana laws "at this point."

Several states have moved toward legalizing marijuana — mostly medical but also recreational — and Dr. Sanjay Gupta recently came out in favor of medical marijuana after initially opposing it.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, creating a conflict in states that have moved to legalize it. Earnest said the Obama administration is not targeting individual users in those states.

"The priority in terms of the dedication of law enforcement resources should be targeted toward our drug kingpins, drug traffickers and others who perpetrate violence in the conduct of the drug trade," Earnest said. "But at the same time, the president does not, you know, at this point advocate a change in the law."

States that have legalized marijuana say they believe the administration has given them tacit approval to more forward, even as it remains illegal according to federal law.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · August 21, 2013