Pubdate: Sat, 15 Dec 2012
Source: News-Item, The (PA)
Copyright: 2012 Associated Press
Authors: Manuel Valdes and Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press
Page: 7


SEATTLE- Officials and pot advocates looking for any sign of whether 
the Obama administration will sue to block legal pot laws in 
Washington state and Colorado or stand idly by as they are 
implemented got one from the president himself.

But it did little to clear the air.

While they welcomed President Barack Obama's comments that catching 
pot users was a low priority for his administration, they said it 
didn't answer a bigger question: Will federal prosecutors and drug 
agents also look the other way?

Pot advocates say they are leery since previous statements from the 
administration that it wouldn't go after individual medical marijuana 
users was followed by crackdowns on dispensaries and others who grew 
and sold the pot.

"There's some signal of hope," said Alison Holcomb, who led 
Washington's legalization drive, but added that it will take more 
than the president to clarify the issues around legal pot. "We 
ultimately need a legislative resolution."

In an interview with Barbara Walters scheduled to air on ABC on 
Friday, Obama said that going after "recreational users" would not be 
a "top priority" in the two states, where voters legalized pot use in November.

In his comments, the president didn't specifically address howthe 
federal government would respond to state officials in Washington and 
Colorado, who are beginning work on regulations for commercial pot sales.

Under the laws, possession of up to an ounce of pot is legal for 
adults over 21.

The Justice Department has declined to say whether it would file a 
lawsuit to block the laws, but has said marijuana is still illegal 
under federal law.

Tom Angell of the group Marijuana Majority said Obama's comment 
didn't add anything new. He said the federal government rarely goes 
after users and the president can do more besides passing the 
responsibility to Congress.

Angell said Obama can use executive power to reclassify pot as a legal drug.

Federal prosecutors haven't targeted users in the 18 states and 
Washington, D.C. that allow people to use marijuana for medical reasons.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom