Biden: Obama Not Planning to Legalize Marijuana

Image: Biden: Obama Not Planning to Legalize Marijuana

Friday, 07 Feb 2014 08:29 AM

By Melanie Batley

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The White House does not favor legalizing marijuana at the federal level, says Vice President Joe Biden, despite conflicting messages that emerged from the president's recent comments.

In an interview with Time, Biden said the administration supports better enforcement but not legalization.

"I think the idea of focusing significant resources on interdicting or convincing people for smoking marijuana is a waste of our resources," Biden told Time.

"That's different than [legalization]. Our policy for our administration is still not legalization, and that is [and] continues to be our policy."

The comments came just weeks after President Barack Obama sparked controversy by saying the drug is no more dangerous than alcohol, and admitted using pot in the past.

When pressed about the president's recent comments, Biden said, "Look, I support the president's policy."

The administration has had to walk a fine line on the legalization issue since Colorado and Washington passed state laws legalizing the substance last year. More states are expected to do so in 2014.

Obama signaled last week that he would not be taking action to legalize marijuana at the federal level through an executive action, saying it was a decision for Congress and not the White House, according to Time.

"We're going to see what happens in the experiments in Colorado and Washington," Obama said in a recent interview with CNN http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/04/politics/pot-politics/.

"The Department of Justice... has said that we are going to continue to enforce federal laws. But in those states, we recognize that... the federal government doesn't have the resources to police whether somebody is smoking a joint on a corner."

During his time in the Senate, Biden took a high-profile role on drug policy, leading on legislation that created the federal "drug czar" and mandatory minimum sentencing for marijuana.

A national poll released last month also showed wide public support for legalization with 55 percent supporting it compared to 44 percent saying it should continue to be illegal.

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