Yesterday, Colorado voters passed Amendment 64 which legalizes the use and sale of recreational marijuana, even though the state’s Governor , John Hickenlooper, opposed it. And in conceding defeat, he issued one of the best (and funniest) statements about legalized marijuana (although I doubt he intended it to be funny).
Last night, Hickenlooper responded to the new law with a warning:
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 gold fish too quickly.
Even though he opposes this new amendment, you have to admit…Cheetos and gold fish are pretty funny.
But he also makes a good point. It would seem that Colorado and now Washington (who also passed a similar law yesterday) have gotten themselves into a sticky situation, even though some are calling this “the biggest victory ever for the legalization movement.” Because here’s the thing: the Colorado governor is right–the use and sale of marijuana is still illegal from the standpoint of the federal government. And the federal government overrules the state government.
Of course it all boils down to money for the state. In Washington, for example, there will be a 25% tax rate imposed on marijuana three times: “when the grower sells it to the processor, when the processor sells it to the retailer, and when the retailer sells it to the customer,” says CNN. Even Hickenlooper has to admit that could be pretty attractive to his state’s bottom line. Nevertheless, he will continue to fight this.
So where does that leave the state of legalized pot?
It could land them in Supreme Court for continued battles, according to what Jeffrey Miron, senior lecturer of economics at Harvard University and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute told CNN:
[The feds] will do whatever they can to interfere with marijuana legalization in any state.
So maybe Governor Hickenlooper is right…don’t celebrate just yet with the munchies.