For recreational users, well, “you’re a felon,” said Mark A.R. Kleiman, editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. “Period. End of paragraph.”

And so is your retailer.

“Regardless of any changes in state law … growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law,” said Jenny Durkan, the U.S. attorney in Seattle. She said the Justice Department is reviewing its options in Washington and Colorado.

Shively said that under no circumstances would his company violate federal law.

“Let’s suppose tomorrow that Washington state issued licenses and said, ‘Go ahead, guys, have at it.’ We would say to the state of Washington respectfully, ‘Thanks, but no thanks, because we haven’t heard from the federal government.'”