Marijuana's Big Moment

Colorado and Washington legalize pot for recreational use

Colorado and Washington both legalized personal use of marijuana on Election Night.
David McNew/Getty Images
November 7, 2012 8:26 AM ET

Initiatives to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and regulate the drug like alcohol passed easily in both Colorado and Washington last night. This is a watershed moment in the War on Drugs – the first time that state voters have so nakedly flouted the authority of the federal government and the DEA.

Will President Obama respect the will of the voters and the rights of states? Or will he continue his administration's war on pot? Colorado, at least, is bracing for a fight. "Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug," said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, "so don't break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly."

But drug-reform advocates were triumphant after this pair of big wins. "Colorado will show the world what a properly regulated marijuana system looks like," said Rob Kampia, director of the Marijuana Policy Project. "It will serve as a model for other states and, in fact, the rest of the world. It is impossible to overstate the significance of this victory."

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