Feds Won’t Stop States From Allowing Recreational Pot Use

Colorado and Washington state are now clear to move forward in instituting systems for the legal production and sale of the drug

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The federal government will not sue to stop Colorado and Washington state from allowing recreational marijuana use, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

The move makes good on President Barack Obama’s remarks to TIME in December suggesting the federal government would not intervene after both states, through voter referendums, became the first to legalize the drug for recreational (and not just medicinal) uses.

“The Justice Department has consistently asserted is that it’s got finite resources,” Obama told TIME in December. “Our focus has to be on threats to safety, threats to property. When it comes to drug enforcement, big-time drug dealers, folks who are preying on our kids, those who are engaging in violence — that has to be our focus.”

The Justice Department outlined eight priorities for marijuana policy in its announcement Thursday, including preventing distribution to minors and stopping criminal groups from profiting from the drug’s sale. The decision paves the way for the two states to roll out systems in the coming months for the legal production and sale of recreational marijuana.