On November 6, Colorado and Washington became the first states in America to legalize recreational marijuana for adult use. But there's a problem, the Federal government says that pot remains an illegal narcotic under US law.
The states are understandably nervous and wonder if employees who oversee the pot trade will be threatened with "acting in violation of federal law." Rules and regulations need to be worked out for the growth, distribution and sale of marijuana, but no one knows how to proceed until they know what the feds are thinking.
The people of Colorado and Washington opened a can of worms when they approved Amendment 64 - to legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for those 21 and over. Unofficial results said that 66 per cent Boulder County voted in favour of the amendment.
Boulder District Attorney, Stan Garnett is the first Colorado DA to dismiss all pending criminal cases and will also drop pot paraphernalia charges where it is clear the items are intended solely for marijuana use. But Garnett said he would continue to prosecute:
- Cases of possession by those under 21
- Where dealing is suspected
- DUI offences involving marijuana
Anti drug groups say that any taxes the states collect will not compensate for the increased health, drug treatment and public safety costs that legalization would cause due to increased use of the drug.
Individuals can begin legally growing and smoking their pot as soon as the Colorado Secretary of State certifies election results on December 6.