New State Laws Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Stand Opposed to Federal Laws

New State Laws Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Stand Opposed to Federal Laws

Tuesday, November 6th was a truly momentous day at the polls. Not only did the nation elect its President and other representatives, but many states across the country voted on serious social issues as well.

Homosexual versus heterosexual marriage was on the ballot in a handful of states. And in two states, Washington and Colorado, voters elected to make recreational use of marijuana legal. Now, those states stand in direct opposition to Federal law which continues to name marijuana as an illegal substance.

Following Tuesday’s vote, citizens of Colorado may possess up to one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana or own six marijuana plants, this measure legalizing marijuana passed by a 56 percent majority. Under the new law, a 25 percent tax will be levied on every marijuana sales transaction. Proponents say that the taxes will fill state coffers with millions of dollars in new revenue.

Colorado residents opposed to the new law voice concerns over who may be drawn to visit the state simply because of its lax marijuana policy. National news sources warn that many will be watching to see the impact of legalization. Of particular interest will be any increases in marijuana use among children and teens or marked increases in criminal activity. It remains unclear whether or not the Federal government will take immediate action against recreational marijuana users in the state.

Already the Federal government has been turning a blind eye to places where medical marijuana has been made “legal”. Regardless of state votes, the Federal government does not recognize any caveats in its anti-marijuana policy. Medical marijuana use, for example, is technically illegal according to Federal law. Attorney General William Holder has warned with words that state measures face Federal reprisals, but so far, no action has been taken by the Feds.

Still, the governor of Colorado warned residents that it was too soon to assume that using marijuana freely was guaranteed Federal impunity. Though past precedent sometimes indicates future behavior, the governor reminded citizens that Federal law has not changed. There were states which rejected similar marijuana initiatives on Tuesday. Oregon and Arkansas said no to similar ballot choices.

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