Justice Department: Drug laws "remain unchanged" following passage of marijuana ballot initiatives

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Updated at 2:22 p.m. ET

The federal government said Wednesday that its enforcement of drug laws "remains unchanged" following voters' approval of ballot initiatives in two states allowing recreational marijuana use.

Voters in Colorado and Washington passed similar initiatives on Election Day legalizing marijuana as well as regulating and taxing it.

In response, Justice Department spokeswoman Nanda Chitre said in a statement: "The department's enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged. In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance. We are reviewing the ballot initiatives and have no additional comment at this time."

The Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. attorneys in Denver and Seattle issued identical statements.

Earlier, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who opposed the initiative in his state, also indicated that legalization was far from a reality.

"Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug," he said, according to The Associated Press, "so don't break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly."

Oregon voters also considered a legalization initiative but rejected it.

  • Alex Sundby

    Alex Sundby is an associate news editor for CBSNews.com

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