When the Justice Department announced Thursday that it would not interfere with the enforcement of voter-approved laws that allow recreational pot use in Washington state and Colorado, leaders on both sides of the issue had the same thought: The policy will probably encourage other states to consider similar laws, says the Los Angeles Times. Supporters of the state laws say the decision will boost efforts to legalize marijuana in states like Oregon, Nevada, Massachusetts and Alaska.
Conflict between the Colorado and Washington state laws and federal law — which still considers marijuana a Schedule I drug, along with cocaine and heroin — had been a source of tension and confusion. Many marijuana advocates said the discord prompted some municipalities to take a wait-and-see approach to enacting zoning and other regulations to permit pot sales, not knowing what the federal ramifications would be. One advocate said the federal announcement “will bring some level of relief or comfort.”