Voters in the states of Washington and Colorado voted to pass the recreational use of marijuana on Nov. 6 to allow for the legal usage and sale of the drug. This has caused much controversy in that as far as the federal government is concerned, the drug is still illegal. As of now, getting caught in possession of the drug will cause the federal government to prosecute, but the state will do nothing.
It was no surprise that Washington state voters legalized marijuana. Polls prior to the vote predicted this outcome because many in Washington saw marijuana as a great resource to tax, since it can be taxed three times: when the grower sells to processor, processor sells to retailer, and retailer sells to consumer. The surprise was in Colorado, where polls showed legalization losing by about 3%. Another marijuana legalization ballot in Oregon failed to pass, as was expected.
Medical marijuana legalization laws were on the ballot in other states, as well. According to CNN, voters in Massachusetts voted to legalize medical marijuana, and Montana residents placed more restrictions on medical marijuana, while Arkansas voted against the legalization of medical marijuana.
“The Drug Enforcement Administration reiterated its stance that marijuana is an illegal drug and that possessing, using or selling it is a crime,” posted CNN.
The legalization of marijuana in the states of Washington and Colorado may lead to a big Supreme Court battle because marijuana is still listed as an illegal drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act. Congress determined that marijuana is a drug in need of control, and that they should be the only ones who can determine when it should no longer be listed as such. The Federal Governments’ laws overrule state laws, so whether the recreational use law will stay in effect or not is still unknown.
(Image by Marijuana.com)