President Obama’s Marijuana Problem | Talking Points Memo

On election night last November, when voters in Colorado and Washington passed ballot initiatives making their states the first to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, they set the stage for potentially landmark legal battles that could define the future of American drug policy. Since marijuana remains prohibited by federal law, President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder must decide whether to adopt a laissez-faire approach, signaling that the federal government will let states lead the way in dictating their pot policies, or to crack down on Colorado and Washington with lawsuits or arrests of those involved in the distribution of marijuana and even state officials who attempt to regulate and oversee the industry.Neither state’s new legalization laws have fully taken effect yet. In both Colorado and Washington lawmakers are currently working to decide precisely how to regulate and implement the sale of marijuana for recreational use. If the government allows this process to proceed, pro-pot activists believe it will open the floodgates for a slew of new marijuana reform laws in other states where reluctant officials are waiting to see how the federal government will handle the issue. Thus far, though, the White House and Holder’s Department of Justice have not indicated how they will handle the legalization laws.

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