As the federal government mulls how to react to laws legalizing and regulating marijuana in Washington and Colorado, a new CBS poll finds that well over half of Americans think marijuana regulation should be left to the states. Fifty-nine percent said state governments should decide whether marijuana is legal, while only 34 percent said the federal government should decide.
The Controlled Substances Act makes marijuana and other drugs illegal under federal law, but it does not dictate how the states handle drug policy. Over the past few years, the Obama administration has ramped up crackdowns on dispensaries of medical marijuana in states where it is legal. But the administration has not said how it will handle the new recreational marijuana laws; only that enforcement of the CSA will “remain unchanged.” A bill pending in the House would exempt states with marijuana laws from the Controlled Substances Act’s marijuana provisions. The CBS poll and several others show national support for marijuana legalization remains high.