Should Obama Push for Legalization of Marijuana, Gay Marriage?

Voters in a few states sent both issues skating to the left Tuesday, but was the landmark election a fluke or a sign of federal legislation to come?

The U.S. took a big hop to the left in Tuesday’s elections.

Voters in three states—Maine, Maryland and Washington—approved same-sex marriage, joining the lot that already includes Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. Meanwhile, though it remains illegal in Minnesota, voters there rejected a constitutional amendment to ban it.

Washington and Colorado threw another left-leaning punch by being the first two states to legalize small amounts of marijuana for recreational use for those 21 and older. It is unclear how these measures will be handled at the federal level, where it remains illegal.

President Obama, who grabbed a sweeping Electoral College victory Tuesday to push him into a second term, has already come out in support of gay marriage. "I've always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally," he said earlier this year.

In his 2004 U.S. senate race, he called the war on drugs "an utter failure, and I think that we need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws, but I’m not somebody who believes in legalization of marijuana."

But since taking over as president, there have been crackdowns on medical marijuana, especially in California.

"I can't nullify congressional law," Obama told Rolling Stone this year. "I can't ask the Justice Department to say, 'Ignore completely a federal law that's on the books.'

"What I can say is, 'Use your prosecutorial discretion and properly prioritize your resources to go after things that are really doing folks damage.' As a consequence, there haven't been prosecutions of users of marijuana for medical purposes."

Should President Obama steer marijuana and gay marriage toward national legalization?

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