If voters in the states of Colorado, Oregon, and Washington vote to legalize marijuana on November 6, it could set the stage for a potential showdown with the federal government, who according to one official will not change its stance on the drug’s status regardless of how those elections turn out.

According to Reuters reporter Alex Dobuzinskis, Deputy Attorney General James Cole told “60 Minutes” that the Justice Department‘s official stance on marijuana would be “the same as it’s always been,” even if voters opt to legalize the substance in those three states early next month.

“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,” Cole told the CBS News program, which aired on Sunday.

His statements about combating the “dangers” of state-sanctioned pot could be taken as “an indication the federal government, which has raided medical pot dispensaries in several of the 17 states that allow cannabis as medicine, could also take aim at state-sanctioned recreational marijuana,” Dobuzinskis said.

Cole’s comments are the first publically made by a member of the Obama administration regarding the marijuana ballot initiatives in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, according to Reuters. His comments could be construed to mean that the Justice Department might consider attempting to stop state officials from legalizing and taxing the sale of pot to adults at least 21 years of age through special shops.

“What constitutes ‘dangers to the community’ surely will be compared to the ever-present dangers of legalized alcohol, if the federal government wishes to be honest and forthright, rather than spreading fear and public hysteria over a plant which poses far less risk to an individual than whiskey or beer,” Deborah Morgan of Examiner.com wrote on Sunday.

“It seems clear — at present — that no amount of public support at the polls this November can entice the Obama administration to consider a more rational and responsible direction on the issue of marijuana law reform, in spite of the towering mountain range of medical, scientific, environmental, economic, and social evidence which supports such attention,” she added. “To date, marijuana has already been proven to actually kill cancer cells, alleviate tremors and pain and nausea, and to slow the onset of Alzheimer’s… and those discoveries only scratch the surface of what marijuana is capable.”

According to the website ProCon.org, medical marijuana has been legalized in Washington D.C., as well as in the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Furthermore, Arkansas, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania currently have pending legislation to legalize cannabis for medical uses on the ballot.

: Source