Voters from Colorado and Washington approved on Tuesday measures that would allow marijuana use for recreational purposes. But while the move signals victory for pot backers, the federal government won’t seem to take the residents’ decision without doing anything, the Reuters reports.
“This is a symbolic victory for (legalization) advocates, but it will be short-lived,” Kevin Sabet, a former adviser to the Obama administration’s drug czar, told reporters. “They are facing an uphill battle with implementing this, in the face of … presidential opposition and in the face of federal enforcement opposition.”
The U.S. drug control officials said on Wednesday that the federal government could sue to block parts of the measures or send threatening letters to marijuana shops. These efforts could be followed up by street-level clampdowns similar to those efforts targeting medical marijuana dispensaries which the government suspects are fronts for drug traffickers.
The U.S. Department of Justice did not provide comments about their stand if the law pass, but says they are reviewing the ballot initiatives.
Sabet added he expected the Obama administration to file a federal lawsuit that would challenge or seek to block aspects of the legalization measures, and that the issue “is going to be caught up in the courts for quite a while.”
Marijuana proponents, on the other hand, agree it’s about time pot is made legal but they already expecting the legalization to face some legal disputes in the coming days.
In Massachusetts, voters approved the law that would legalize medical marijuana for people with cancer, hepatitis C, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis and other conditions.