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2 States Vote to Legalize Marijuana

By November 8, 2012

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Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21 when voters passed ballot initiatives in the 2012 General Election. But implementing the will of the voters in those states may be a long time coming if the efforts are challenged by federal authorities.

Possession, manufacturing and distributing marijuana is still against federal law in the United States.

In Colorado, where voters approved legalizing pot by a 1,291,771 to 1,064,342 (55% to 45%) vote, Gov. John Hickenlooper warned citizens that it was a bit too early to "break out the Cheetos."

A Long, Complicated Process

Hickenlooper said the process of setting up the laws and regulations to tax and sell marijuana, much in the same way that alcohol is controlled, would be a long and complicated process.

"The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will," Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) said. "This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug, so don't break out the Cheetos or goldfish too quickly."

The process could be further complicated if federal authorities challenge in the courts each step along the way. In both Washington and Colorado, the measures call for weed to be sold only in state-licensed stores, where it will be heavily taxed.

A Court Battle Brews

Federal authorities could move to shut down these retail outlets in the same manner they have shut down dispensaries in states where medical marijuana is "legal." The feds will probably not get into the business of arresting individuals for possession, but they could easily target the state distribution system.

The day after the election, the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed that the federal policy of enforcement of the federal Controlled Substances Act "remains unchanged."

From a practical standpoint, however, it may be difficult for federal authorities to do anything to curtail the individual use of marijuana, especially in Colorado where, unlike Washington state, adults over 21 will be allowed to cultivate up to six plants for personal use.

A Matter of Public Safety

If local law enforcement is no longer going to arrest adults for possession of less than an ounce or for growing their own, it would be impractical for federal authorities to step into that role.

The reason that the federal authorities continue to enforce the law and President Obama has not supported legalization, is because the government's own research shows that marijuana is a drug that can have harmful effects and has the potential to be abused.

Therefore, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Chief Peter Bensinger indicated Wednesday that federal authorities will continue to fight the legalization of marijuana in the courts, if not in the streets, as a matter of public safety.

"You'll lose productivity, you'll have accidents on the highway, you'll have absenteeism, and you'll really have a much more weakened society if you have widespread use of marijuana," Bensinger told reporters.

More About Marijuana:

Photo: DEA

Comments
November 8, 2012 at 11:50 am
(1) Kage says:

This is dumb. For the federal government to not allow the popular consensus, especially when the correct avenues where taken to even adjust the law to provide, is absurd. This shows that our vote does not count and that our system is fail. The scare tactics of “You’ll lose productivity, you’ll have accidents on the highway, you’ll have absenteeism, and you’ll really have a much more weakened society if you have widespread use of marijuana,” have no backing and show a mind still effected by the “reefer madness” from days of old. Grow up and read the studies.

November 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm
(2) Chris says:

THE AUTHOR OF THIS BIT OF TRASH IS A LIAR!!!!!

the US Government owns patent on medical cannabis…if it has no medical value explian this
Why the federal government continues to ignore the empirical evidence before them while simultaneously holding a patent on marijuana.
Patent number 6630507 states unequivocally that “cannabinoids are useful in the prevention and treatment of a wide variety of diseases including auto-immune disorders, stroke, trauma, Parkinson’s, Alzeheimer’s and HIV dementia.”

The patent, awarded in 2003, is based on research done by the National Institute of Health, and is assigned to the US Dept. of Health and Human Services.

YOU SEE THIS AUTHOR IS NOTHING MORE THAN ANOTHER LYING P.O.S !!!!!!

November 8, 2012 at 12:07 pm
(3) Chris says:

the US Government owns patent on medical cannabis…another in a long list of LIARS!!!!!!!

it has no medical value explian this Why the federal government continues to ignore the empirical evidence before them while simultaneously holding a patent on marijuana

Patent number 6630507 states unequivocally that “cannabinoids are useful in the prevention and treatment of a wide variety of diseases including auto-immune disorders, stroke, trauma, Parkinson’s, Alzeheimer’s and HIV dementia.”

The patent, awarded in 2003, is based on research done by the National Institute of Health, and is assigned to the US Dept. of Health and Human Services.

This author is another LYING POS!!!!!!!

November 8, 2012 at 12:10 pm
(4) Chris says:

LAW ENFORCEMENT ARE THE BIGGEST LIARS!!!!!!!! They are lying to protect their power paychecks and bugets…….

The best part is the majority of voters know the cops are all lying pos……..

November 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm
(5) Obscurity77 says:

“The reason that the federal authorities continue to enforce the law and President Obama has not supported legalization, is because the government’s own research shows that marijuana is a drug that can have harmful effects and has the potential to be abused.”

And what? Alcohol isnt a drug that doesnt have harmful effects and a potential for abuse? Jesus Christ… Stop the backwards thinking America, you’re beating a dead horse! LEGALIZE FREEDOM!!!!

December 31, 2012 at 10:20 am
(6) Susie Q says:

I take none of you are addicts or alcoholics making these statements and you higher power is not God. As an addictions counselor and a resident of Washington state from birth, then you really don’t have any ground to stand on. Your truth to terminal illness is true, the problem is that most people don’t really care one way or the other and it should be personal choice, which is true, if medical marijuana were being dispensed for those who only have terminal illness that would be great, but it is not. And most I have talked to, especially those who work in the labor industry do not want the guy next to them under the influence, for them it’s putting their lives in the hands of someone who is stoned and reaction time is slowed I can attest to that myself, and marijuana has gotten stronger, than it was in the sixties and seventies so your comments are either job security or more people out of work due to their choices.

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