White House Drug Czar, Gil Kerlikowske issued a response to three different White House petitions requesting the legalization of marijuana in the United States.

“Thank you for participating in ‘We the People’ and speaking out on the legalization of marijuana,” Kerlikowske wrote. “Coming out of the recent election, it is clear that we’re in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana.”

Kerlikowske cited President Obama’s own remarks to Barbara Walters last month asserting that it “does not make sense from a prioritization point of view for us to focus on recreational drug users” in states that have legalized marijuana.

Kerlikowske added that President Obama had instructed the Justice Department to review legalization initiatives passed in Colorado and Washington.

The three petitions collected a total of 173,918 signatures in favor of a national policy to federally legalize the drug.