November 6, 2012, was a historic election for a number of reasons. Our
nation’s first African-American president was re-elected, Maryland
voted to uphold state law legalizing same-sex marriage, and two other
states legalized marijuana use –
recreational marijuana use.
But as Alan Duke reports for CNN, Colorado’s governor warned would-be
recreational marijuana users not to “break out the Cheetos”
just yet, as the federal DEA still cracks down on the drug that causes
Marijuana is still classified as a controlled substance under federal law,
possession charges still exist, even if the possession of marijuana is legal inside certain
The two states that legalized recreational marijuana use on Nov. 6 were
Colorado and Washington.
This is a classic case of the legal and political concept of “federalism,”
in which states that have exercised their sovereign authority to make
law run up against the law of the federal government. Indeed, the DEA
issued a press release reiterating that it will still continue to enforce
the federal Controlled Substances Act.
As Duke reports, Colorado’s governor said, “The voters have
spoken and we have to respect their will … 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.”