Dear Damien:

Thank you for writing.  The Obama Administration is committed to developing policies based on science and research, and the Federal Government has been funding and reviewing studies to better understand marijuana’s effects on individuals, public health, and safety. 

This Administration opposes marijuana legalization, and our policy approach focuses on improving public health and safety through prevention, treatment, support for recovery, and innovative criminal justice strategies to break the cycle of drug use and crime.  A considerable body of evidence shows that marijuana use, especially chronic use that begins at a young age, is associated with serious health and social problems.  Studies also reveal that marijuana potency has tripled since 1990, raising serious public health concerns.

At the same time, we share public concerns about ensuring limited Federal enforcement resources are dedicated to pursuing our highest enforcement priorities, such as preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing the sale of marijuana by criminal enterprises and gangs, preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana, and preventing drugged driving and other adverse public health consequences.  We will also closely monitor implementation of marijuana legalization in individual States and prevent the diversion of marijuana to States that have not legalized its use, sale, or distribution.  Outside of its highest enforcement priorities, the Federal Government has traditionally relied on State and local agencies to address marijuana activity through enforcement of their own narcotics laws.

Like many people, we are also interested in the potential marijuana components may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses.  That is why we support ongoing research into evaluating what components of the marijuana plant may be used as medicine.  To date, though, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.

Thank you for making your voice heard.  You can learn more about the President’s approach to drug control at


The White House

(5:34 AM 6/19/2015)