Obama: Federal Prohibition Not ‘Tenable’ After State Marijuana Votes | Marijuana

Obama: Federal Prohibition Not ‘Tenable’ After State Marijuana Votes


President Obama says that federal laws banning marijuana will likely have to change if new states vote to legalize the drug on Tuesday.

“The good news is is that after this referenda, to some degree it’s gonna call the question, because if in fact it passed in all these states, you now have about a fifth of the country that’s operating under one set of laws, and four-fifths in another,” Obama told Bill Maher in an interview taped earlier this week and released Friday night.

“The Justice Department, DEA, FBI, for them to try to straddle and figure out how they’re supposed to enforce laws in some places and not in others — they’re gonna guard against transporting these drugs across state lines, but you’ve got the entire Pacific corridor where this is legal — that is not gonna be tenable,” he said.

“I don’t think that legalization is a panacea, but i think that we’re going to have to have a more serious conversation about how we are treating marijuana and our drug laws generally,” he added.

The comments were from a portion of the interview that did not air on Maher’s HBO TV show, Real Time, but were uploaded to YouTube.

Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada will vote on marijuana legalization ballot items on Tuesday. All have led to varying degrees in recent polls. Marijuana is already legal for adults over 21 years of age in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington State and Washington, D.C.

Photo Courtesy of Allie Beckett.

About Author

Tom Angell covers policy and politics for Marijuana.com. Separately, he serves as chairman of the nonprofit organization Marijuana Majority, which works to ensure that elected officials and the media treat legalization as a serious, mainstream issue. Marijuana Majority led the effort to get the U.S. Conference of Mayors to pass a resolution telling the federal government to respect state marijuana laws, and orchestrated the first-ever endorsement for marijuana legalization by a U.S. Supreme Court justice (John Paul Stevens). Previously, Tom worked for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (All organizations are listed for identification purposes only.)


  1. Ive had people ask me to do their taxes and how to pay them when they cant get bank accounts . Can i do the taxes and not get in trouble myself?

    • I wouldn’t worry about it. While the answer is technically a prosecutor could dream up a conspiracy argument that your part of a criminal enterprise… Maybe under Rico for example. That said, we have a policy of not enforcing at the federal level for marijuana related violations in states where the conduct would otherwise be legal. Therefore to take the search for bad actors even one or two steps further down the line would be even more discouraged. This type of problem does sometimes come up through. Here in NJ we recently had to change our rules of professional conduct to permit lawyers to counsel those in the marijuana business because in so doing they were advising future acts that would be criminal under federal law.

  2. Get educated.it is a natural plant that heals and helps and should be available like alcohol or medicine legalize marijuana everywhere it should be my choice what I put in my body. ALSO, THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF NONVIOLENT MARIJUANA OFFENDERS SERVING DECADES IN PRISON THAT ARE NO THREAT TO SOCIETY AND DONT WANT TO DIE ALONE IN PRISON, PLEASE GRANT THEM CLEMENCY, THEIR FAMILIES WANT THEM HOME

  3. My son uses a Hemp,it is banned in the only Childrens Hospital in Delaware. He is traumatized, because he gets overloaded with narcotics to compensate for the oil he gets at home.

    • Nancy Lemus – It seems idiotic to me to overload your son with narcotics, which usually have nasty side effects, when a simple cannabis oil works just fine and is much less expensive. But the pharmaceutical companies don’t get any profit from that!

      If every state in the U.S. legalized the sale and use of marijuana, it could be removed from the Schedule 1 drug list, and leave the DEA and law enforcement free to concentrate on the more hazardous drugs.

      FYI – I don’t use any form of marijuana and never have. But people who do should be able to buy and use it without fear of being arrested on drug charges. Liquor & Tobacco are a bigger threat to our health and welfare, and they’re legal. Go figure…..

      • I believe you read Nancy’s post wrong. She said she gives it to her son but in the hospital they banned it so they give him a bunch of narcotics which he doesnt like. I dont know how old her son is. Adult or minor. But I have a severely special needs son whose 7 & I would love to give it to him. Drs, professionals & other people have been “pushing me” to put him on meds but I wont do it. Ive tried to get my son to eat edibles but for some odd reason he wouldnt eat it even tho he didnt know it had cbc in them

  4. Robyn Blanpied on

    I think legalization is the only sane course of action. It is a panacea .
    It resolves all the issues with criminality.
    See: Prohibition.

  5. chris cadiilac on

    Bull pucky…

    Howa about a law that does not prohibit 75% of the entire state from gaining legal compliance… we’re thinking about that…while the restrictive soros dpa initiative puts the plant in the corporate controlled government hands…great advocacy there!
    Monopoly much?
    Dispute that only 25% of the state (and dropping as more localities move to ban prior to Tuesday’s vote) are able to even obtain a license, providing they could afford it? How much are those licenses again? And they are capped at what ceiling rate?
    No on prosecution 64…
    No on prohibition 64….
    Just no on 64….
    No on auma!

  6. I’ve been waiting for legalization of marijuana since first being introduced to it in just ior high school. I’ve used it, grew it, sold it, and have done time for it. I hold three university degrees, and now I’m retired. The only thing I see “criminal” about marijuana is the the countless lives ruined, careers destroyed, and the waste of tax payer’s money as a result of the facade that it is an evil and dangerous drug. Legalization : it’s long overdue.

    • This is the best responde that I have read on here. My son will be Nineon the 18th of this month. He has been diagnosed with Autism and ADHD since just before he turned 3 (though I didn’t know it was possible to diagnose that at such a young age). Over the past 6 years he has been on several (too damn many) different medications. When they start losing their effects /stop working, the docs either raises his dosage amount or changes him to something that’s stronger that almost always has more side effects. I really do believe e this would be something that would work amazingly for my son. Plus, its not like pills, patches and capsules…IT IS SAFE!!

      • I have a 16-year-old diagnosed with autism NOD (aspergers). They had him on meds that are amphetamine based for the day, then a Benzo at night to sleep. His behavior was explosive….it was exactly like that of a tweaker, unpredictable and angry. I took him off all the meds they had him on and started him on marijuana. This isn’t exactly legal, but for his health and welfare, I’m willing to take that risk. His school kept asking what I was doing at home, as his behavior improved exponentially. Under normal circumstances, I do not condone smoking weed as a teenager, as it does effect memory and info retention in the developing brain. There was a drop in his grades; however, as he adjusted to this new med, his grades came back up and the tiring effects subsided. I will never regret this decision, as my son is finally balanced, happy and healthy

      • I have a severely special needs son whose 7 & I would love to give it to him. Drs, professionals & other people have been “pushing me” to put him on meds but I wont do it. Ive tried to get my son to eat edibles but for some odd reason he wouldnt eat it even tho he didnt know it had cbc in them. Im searching for alternative ways to give it to him.

    • How can you possibly have three degrees when your mind has been destroyed by this extremely dangerous narcotic? Get real people reefer madness was total b.s.

      • Sorry you feel that way but it works I am a vet and find it helps with my many issues and the only side affect ( munchies ) and as I hate eating it help’s with that two.

    • Floyd- Me too, more or less. Some 450 college credits, two honor societies, 2 Army MOS’s and a crosstrain, and I’m a Service Connected Disabled Vet. We have a lot of old leftover prejudices to get rid of.

  7. Marijuana is Federally illegal!! My son Lance Gloor was just sentenced to 10 years for helping others via medical marijuana dispensary Washington State LEGAL by the Federal government. He is now serving his sentence in the Federal Penitentiary. Do not be fooled. Just because state laws ol marijuana it is still illegal at the top! Becareful!

    • This was a huge problem in my state….and we pioneered the mmj movement. Here in montana, we are worse off than we were in the beginning. So many people jailed, so many raids. I pray we can reverse this on Tuesday and get our full rights to this medical option back

  8. What I don’t understand is America is supposed to be indivisible,both liberty , and justice for all . How can one man legally use marijuana in one state and I go to jail for having a gram and I am looked at like a criminal . Are we one nation or 50? Please someone help us in Chattanooga TN.

    • Don’t worry O Bama sez the law will be untenable, So I’m sure he will rely on Shillary making things right in the lame duck portion of her second term.

  9. It’s the money hemp is a trillion dollar business, what happens when grow a car, build a house, there are over 20,000 uses for hemp alone.

  10. Can anyone explain to me how we are treated equally if some states are legal and some are not.????? I just can’t understand this… I live in a state that isn’t legal.. I should have the same right to medical marijuana as the legal states…
    Now Donald Trump is our President.. I think he’s against it …some on his staff he chose is totally against it even medical marijuana. It’s just NOT right. Now what ? Does anyone have an idea what’s next.??

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