All jokes aside about an increase in Cheetos or Goldfish sales in Colorado and Washington, we doubt that those states' votes to allow recreational use of marijuana will lead to legal pot smoking there.
Using marijuana for recreational purposes clashes with federal law. As states that have tried to pass hard-line anti-illegal immigration measures have learned, butting heads with the feds can be painful, and costly. The costs of litigation that Washington and Colorado will face so some residents in those states can "toke up" from time to time is only one of many reasons that legalizing pot is a bad idea.
Some have speculated that the feds will not challenge the new laws in those two states. But, in our opinion, that's wishful thinking that goes best with Cheetos and a few drags of pot. If the Obama administration fails to enforce federal law in regard to marijuana use, it loses its standing in order to challenge states that defied the feds by passing laws regarding other issues. In short, the feds would look like hypocrites by not acting, particularly after its string of lawsuits against cash-strapped states that have passed immigration laws.
If Colorado and Washington are allowed to defy federal law, the federal government will lose moral standing in its efforts to enforce its primacy in areas such as immigration and land rights. Why should Utahns who wish state control of federal lands give pause to federal intervention if marijuana legalization is deemed a state's right? Also, why would federal courts defer to the U.S. government on issues of immigration or land rights if the federal government abdicates its responsibility on enforcing drug laws?
Police are concerned about deadly consequences of legalizing marijuana. It is a drug, and its effects include blurred vision and delayed reaction time. Also, if the new drug laws do take effect, they will entice persons to use marijuana who wouldn't have begun using if the drug had remained illegal. The feds can easily quash these new laws; hopefully that will be a priority next year.