The New York Times editorial board’s call for pot legalization has not changed the president’s opposition to the idea, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.
On Saturday, the Times editorial board called for legalized marijuana for American adults over the age of 21 under the headline “Repeal Prohibition, Again.”
Earnest said the White House is sticking by the administration view that marijuana should remain illegal but that the drug war as it has been fought should be re-examined.
“The administration’s position on this has not changed,” Earnest said in response to a question about the Times editorial. “We remain committed to treating drug use as a public health issue, not just a criminal justice problem.”
In January, Obama took a softer stance toward marijuana than some of his predecessors, telling the New Yorker pot is not “more dangerous” than alcohol, but calling the use of it “a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.”
In August, the Justice Department announced that it would allow recreational drug laws in Colorado and Washington to go ahead without federal interference.
Even as it has made those policy changes, however, the administration has emphasized that marijuana remains illegal and Obama has not called for those laws to change.