Obama Has "Bigger Fish to Fry" Than Pot Smokers | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Obama Has "Bigger Fish to Fry" Than Pot Smokers

The President still opposes marijuana legalization, but is less inclined than ever to prosecute users.


Not so bothered about prosecuting potheads
Photo via

By McCarton Ackerman


| Share

It's a small but significant shift: in an interview with Barbara Walters that airs tonight on 20/20, President Barack Obama speaks publicly for the first time about marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington, and says that prosecuting recreational pot users in those states won't be "a top priority" for federal law enforcement officials. "We've got bigger fish to fry," he says. "It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined it's legal." And while the President remains opposed to marijuana legalization due to a desire to "discourage drug use," he says that limited government resources and shifting public opinion leave him open to compromise on pot-use punishments. "This is a tough problem, because Congress has not yet changed the law," he says. "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?" Obama notes that issues including the impact of drug use on young people and treaty obligations with other countries will need to be considered. But he's already asked Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department to examine the legal issues surrounding conflicting state and federal laws. Despite his opposition to legalization, Obama is no stranger to marijuana; he admitted in his 1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father, that he would smoke it regularly with his high school buddies.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 


This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv