Colorado and Washington State Headed For A Showdown With The Department Of Justice Over Legal Marijuana

Owen Poindexter
By passing ballot measures to legalize marijuana, Colorado and Washington State now have a law on the books that violates federal law. The legal showdown over this could be a showdown for the ages.

Voters in Colorado and Washington State legalized marijuana for recreational use (or any use at all!) in a historic move that sets up a battle with the federal Department of Justice. Marijuana is still illegal in the United States and categorized (ridiculously) as a Schedule I drug (meaning the government puts it in the same category as heroin). What happens now is anyone’s guess. Marijuana legalization advocates haven’t been thrilled with the Obama administration so far, but perhaps with no more elections to worry about, Obama and Department of Justice head Eric Holder will soften their anti-drug stance.

After all, aren’t states supposed to try wacky ideas? Everyone wants to experiment at some point, let’s just let them try it out, and see how it goes. Still, two whole states just did the legal equivalent of lighting a joint in front of a cop, and the fallout is going to be a major story of the next year. The fact that Colorado and Washington have each other might provide the leverage they need to keep their historic decision and not get busted.

The decision may ultimately come to the Supreme Court, and the often predictable court could go either way on this one. While it might be a classic liberal-conservative split with Justice Kennedy in the middle, the conservatives, champions of states' rights, could puff puff pass these laws into legality.