August 29, 2013
The Obama administration on Thursday said it will not stand in the way of Colorado, Washington and other states where voters have supported legalizing marijuana either for medical or recreational use, as long as those states maintain strict rules involving distribution of the drug.
In a memo sent Thursday to U.S. attorneys in all 50 states, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole detailed the administration’s new stance, even as he reiterated that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
The memo directs federal prosecutors to focus their resources on eight specific areas of enforcement, rather than targeting individual marijuana users, which even President Obama has acknowledged is not the best use of federal manpower. Those areas include preventing distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing the sale of pot to cartels and gangs, preventing sales to other states where the drug remains illegal under state law, and stopping the growing of marijuana on public lands.