In December of 2012, President Obama did an interview with the ABC program 20/20. The focus of the interview was his administration’s drug enforcement policies. During the show, President Obama told reporters that cracking down on states that have legalized marijuana – either entirely or for medicinal use – would not be a priority for his administration.
“We’ve got bigger fish to fry … 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,” he said.
But a recent report by Americans for Safe Access, as noted by The Weed Blog, a pro-marijuana research group, shows that the Obama administration is still spending massive amounts of money fighting cannabis use in states that have legalized the plant.
To be specific, the administration has spent $289 million dollars fighting medicinal marijuana policies in the last four-and-a-half years. This breaks down to over $100,000 per-day spent fighting citizen-approved medicinal marijuana policies. For pro-legalization voters that elected President Obama in hopes of seeing federal marijuana policies loosened, this has to be disappointing.
What’s more disappointing is that in just four-and-half-years, the Obama administration has spent $120 million more fighting medicinal marijuana than the Bush administration did over eight years.
American’s for Safe Access published their report in hopes of raising awareness about the power congress has to cut the Department of Justice’s budget on medical marijuana enforcement this summer.
While federal spending to crackdown on marijuana increases, so does public support for marijuana legalization. For the first time in American history, a majority of Americans, 52%, support legalizing marijuana completely. This numbers grows to 80% when Americans are asked whether they support medical marijuana.