Obama: 'Bigger Fish to Fry' Than Pot Smokers


In the shadow of last week's legalization of recreational marijuana use in Washington state, President Barack Obama indicates that busting pot smokers is not a "top priority" for his administration.

"We've got bigger fish to fry," Obama told ABC's Barbara Walters. "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."

On Election Night, Washington joined Colorado to become the nation's first states to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults in their states. Marijuana use and possession remains illegal under federal law and there were some concerns that the federal government would prosecute drug users in those states. The Obama administration already chooses not to prosecute individual users in the 18 states that have legalized medical marijuana but has gone after growers and suppliers of the drug.

Marijuana remains classified under the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I narcotic, whose cultivation, distribution, possession and use are criminal acts. Marijuana, or cannabis, is in the same drug category as heroin, LSD and Ecstasy, all deemed to have high potential for abuse.

NBC News reports that most Americans are also softening their opinion on the drug and agree with the administration's stance. A new Gallup poll shows that 64 percent of Americans are against the federal government intervening in states where marijuana is legal.