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'We've Got Bigger Fish To Fry' Than Going After Pot Smokers, Obama Says

A woman, identified only as "Hurricane," lights up in Seattle. Washington state's law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana went into effect on Dec. 6.
Cliff Despeaux
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Reuters /Landov
A woman, identified only as "Hurricane," lights up in Seattle. Washington state's law legalizing the recreational use of marijuana went into effect on Dec. 6.

It looks like the feds will not be worrying much about those folks who choose to smoke pot in Colorado and Washington state, where new laws decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

"We've got bigger fish to fry," President Obama tells ABC News' Barbara Walters during an interview set to air on 20/20 at 10 p.m. ET tonight.

Though it's still a federal crime to use or possess pot, "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," the president tells Walters.

Those are the first comments the president's made about the laws in Colorado and Washington since they were signed into law .

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.