Marijuana legalization passes in some US states
2012-11-08 0:00

By Aaron Smith | CNN Money

Voters in Washington and Colorado passed ballot initiatives Tuesday to legalize marijuana for recreational use, the biggest victory ever for the legalization movement.

"The significance of these events cannot be understated," said NORML, a pro-legalization organization, in a news release. "Tonight, for the first time in history, two states have legalized and regulated the adult use and sale of cannabis."

But in many ways, it’s just the beginning of the battle. Marijuana is still illegal in the eyes of the federal government, which overrules states’ rights.

"The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will," said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, in a statement. "This is 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 Drug Enforcement Administration reiterated its stance that marijuana is an illegal drug and that possessing, using or selling it is a crime.

"The Drug Enforcement Administration’s enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged," said the DEA in a press statement. "In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I control[ed] substance. The Department of Justice is reviewing the ballot initiatives and we have no additional comment at this time."

The Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office released an identical statement, saying that its position on marijuana as an illegal drug is "unchanged."


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