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President Obama tells ABC's Barbara Walters that while he's not ready to support legalizing marijuana nationwide, in the wake of successful legalization referendums in Washington state and Colorado, he doesn't believe that the federal government should focus on criminal action against recreational users in those states:

I wouldn't go that far, but what I think is that at this point in Washington and Colorado, you've seen the voters speak on this issue and as it is, the federal government has a lot to do when it comes to criminal prosecutions. It doesn't make sense from a prioritization point of view for us to focus on recreational drug users in a state that has already said that under state law that's legal.
President Obama also told Walters that he does not want to encourage drug usage among children.
"There are a bunch of things I did that I regret when I was a kid," Obama told Walters. "My attitude is, substance abuse generally is not good for our kids, not good for our society.

"I want to discourage drug use," he added.

Obviously, Obama's support of a hands-off approach towards Colorado and Washington is just a baby step, but when it comes to embracing a more rational approach to drugs, politicians are going to be a lagging indicator. Given the general insanity of our current approach, it's at least nice to see that the president seems to understand that the "War on Drugs" doesn't really have anything to do with fighting substance abuse.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 06:54 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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