Q13 FOX News reporter
7:25 PM EDT, October 24, 2012
Washington could legalize pot in the Nov. 6 election, but rules against the drug will likely stay the same at the state’s largest university. And there is a question of whether federal authorities would step in if Initiative 502 passes.
If the initiative is approved, even students who are 21 won't be able to light up at the University of Washington. The university's administrator for conduct said the school will still adhere to federal law when it comes to marijuana, which means the drug would still be illegal on campus.
The Feds may play a part on what happens off campus as well.
In an interview on “60 Minutes,” the deputy U.S. attorney general indicated the federal authorities could take aim at any state laws that legalize pot, saying, "We're going to take a look at whether or not there are dangers to the community from the sale of marijuana and we're going to go after those dangers."
Opponents of I-502 said they believe the U.S. attorney in Seattle would seek a court injunction to stop the law in its tracks.
“It's a fantasy that the state is ever really going to have this, it's not going to be legal, it's not going to work, the federal government is going to preempt this thing in five minutes,” said Douglas Hiatt of the anti-502 group Sensible Washington.
But that hasn't really happened with medical marijuana, and Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, a backer of 502. He added that he believes the Feds will back off if voters make pot legal.
“I don’t think the federal government’s going to ignore a clear voter mandate from the state of Washington,” Holmes said.
No matter how the marijuana vote turns out, the decision will not affect student life at UW, where pot will still be barred from campus.
“That seems fair,” said UW sophomore Billy Medwedeff. “There’s no need to have alcohol on campus, there’s no reason to have marijuana on campus.”
The spokesman of the group that wants to legalize pot said that if I-502 passes, they hope to work with federal authorities on some of the rules deciding how licenses would be given out to grow and sell marijuana.
Election polls show a close race on I-502, with the pro side a little ahead.