Criminal Law

Voters OK Recreational Pot in Two States; Colo. Governor: Don't Break Out the Cheetos


Voters in Colorado and Washington state have approved legalization of marijuana for recreational use, setting up a conflict with the federal law that outlaws the drug.

The marijuana measures allow adults to buy small amounts of marijuana at special stores, report the Denver Post and the Seattle Times. According to the Seattle Times, “The vote puts Washington and Colorado to the left of the Netherlands on marijuana law, and makes them the nexus of a new social experiment with uncertain consequences.”

Voters in Oregon, on the other hand, defeated a measure to allow recreational marijuana.

Will the Justice Department sue to block the laws? Colorado Gov. Gov. John Hickenlooper, who opposed legalization, pointed out the conflict with federal law in a statement, the Denver Post says. “The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will,” he said. “That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.”

According to Seattle lawyer Pete Holmes, there will be no immediate reaction from the DOJ. He told the Seattle Times he has spoken with U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan of Seattle and the government “has no plans, except to talk.”

The Huffington Post, however, sees emerging signs that the Justice Department will act. The publication cites a prediction by Kevin Sabet, a former senior adviser to the Obama administration’s Office of National Drug Control Policy. “Once these states actually try to implement these laws, we will see an effort by the feds to shut it down,” he told NBC.

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