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.