President Obama believes more states are likely to legalize marijuana following efforts in Colorado and Washington state.
"My suspicion is that you're going to see other states look at this," the president told YouTube blogger Hank Green.
Obama said that the federal government was "not going to spend a lot of resources" enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that had decided to legalize the drug. He also noted that the Department of Justice was examining how to shift policies for nonviolent drug offenders.
In an interview with The New Yorker last year, Obama appeared to tacitly endorse a Colorado referendum that legalized marijuana in the state.
The president said that it was “important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished."
In the same interview, Obama said he did not think pot was more dangerous than alcohol, although said he still saw use as “a bad habit and a vice.”
Last December, the White House said Congress should not interfere with local District of Columbia law that would legalize marijuana in the capital city as part of the so-called cromnibus. But Obama did sign the budget bill including those restrictions.