In a USA Today/Gallup Poll, those surveyed say by almost 2-1, 63%-34%,
that the federal government shouldn't take steps to enforce federal
marijuana laws in states that legalize pot.
The question took on some urgency Thursday as Washington became the
first state to legalize the possession of marijuana for
recreational purposes. Just after midnight, hundreds of celebrants lit
joints at the base of Seattle's Space Needle.
A similar law is
scheduled to take effect January in Colorado, where voters last month
also approved a ballot measure legalizing the manufacture, distribution
and possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults 21 and older.
puts both states in conflict with federal law, which lists pot in the
same Schedule 1 category as heroin and LSD. "The department's
responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains
unchanged," the U.S. Attorney's office in Seattle said in a written
statement. "Neither states nor the executive branch can nullify a
statute passed by Congress."
Still unclear is precisely how, and how aggressively, federal law enforcement officials plan to proceed.
poll finds no national groundswell to decriminalize marijuana. Support
for legalization has risen dramatically since 1969, when Gallup found
Americans opposed the idea by 84%-12%. But levels of support actually
have dipped a tad from last year, when 50% supported legalization and
46% opposed it.
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