It appears that the US Department of Justice may indeed let Washington state proceed with marijuana legalization.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee met with US Attorney General Eric Holder this week to discuss marijuana legalization in the state. Inslee said the meeting was “very satisfying” and that he was “encouraged” that the Feds will respect the will of Washington voters.
This past Election Day Washington voters passed Initiative 502 by a wide margin of 56-44, joining Colorado to legalize recreational marijuana.
“I do believe it is my duty to follow the intentions of the voters of Washington” Inslee said. “I went into this (Holder meeting) believing our state should go ahead with implementation. Nothing that I heard dissuaded me from that view.”
According to Washington’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who attended the meeting with Inslee, the purpose of the meeting was to “avoid a legal fight” with a federal government that still considers marijuana illegal.
In a statement, Ferguson called the meeting with Holder “cordial” and “successful” as he and the governor “communicated Washington state’s intention to move forward in implementing I-502.”
The biggest concern that Holder and the Justice Department expressed was how Washington will “prevent distribution of marijuana outside the state.”
If marijuana that was legally grown in Washington state was transported over state lines, the Feds could invoke the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to enforce federal prohibition of cannabis.
Washington state also held its second hearing to hash out the regulations for Initiative 502 last week. The meeting was standing room only and drew pot entrepreneurs from all over the country.
The video below details the hearing as well as Inslee’s meeting with Holder:
Inslee and Ferguson are hopeful that the Obama Administration will let Washington move forward with legalization without interference. This would likely encourage the many other states now considering legalization.
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