WASHINGTON -- A top White House official's testimony explained the Obama administration's position on state marijuana legalization, which seems to directly contradict the president's personal views, during a congressional committee hearing on Tuesday.
Obama stated in a recent interview that it was "important" for the marijuana legalization efforts in Washington and Colorado to move forward. But Deputy Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli's written testimony before a House Oversight subcommittee on Tuesday said that the Obama administration "continues to oppose attempts to legalize marijuana and other drugs."
Obama described marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado as an "experiment," but Botticelli's testimony said that calls for legalization "often paint a misleading picture."
"Although state legalization efforts include taxes on marijuana, costs associated with legalization may far exceed any additional tax revenue," Botticelli said in his written testimony. "For example, the tax revenue collected from alcohol pales in comparison to the costs associated with it."
The Department of Justice declined to send a representative to appear before the subcommittee, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) said Tuesday afternoon. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said last month that legalizing marijuana would not necessarily make it easier for minors to obtain pot because the DOJ plans to focus on prosecuting dealers who target children.
Mica said the president's recent comments may make him a "major contributor" to the perception that marijuana is a low-risk drug.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.