WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama says he won't go after Washington state and Colorado for legalizing marijuana.
In a Barbara Walters interview airing Friday on ABC, Obama is asked whether he supports making pot legal. He says -- quote -- "I wouldn't go that far.”
But the president won't pursue the issue in the states where voters legalized the use of marijuana in the November elections. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Obama said he has asked the Department of Justice to examine the situation.
"We've got bigger fish to fry," Obama said. "It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it's legal,"
Marijuana officially became legal in Washington state last week.
The law allows anyone 21 years of age or older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, although it is not legal to smoke it in public, grow it or sell it. The new law does not affect the state's medical marijuana provision.
Before the law took effect, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said he expected the state to be sued by the federal government and that the case would likely end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
State school superintendent Randy Dorn warned this week that school districts had reported an increase in pot possession and use on school property since voters passed the law last month. He said that could put schools in jeopardy of losing federal education funds.