Feds Won’t Challenge Washington’s Pot Law 
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Feds Won’t Challenge Washington’s Pot Law 
Posted by CN Staff on August 29, 2013 at 12:00:18 PT
By Brian M. Rosenthal
Source: Seattle Times
Washington D.C. -- The federal government will not try to block Washington state’s recreational marijuana legalization law, Gov. Jay Inslee announced this morning.U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivered his long-awaited decision on a potential legal challenge in a phone call with Inslee and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper just after 9 a.m., according to Inslee’s staff. Colorado’s legalization law, also approved last November, also will stand. “We appreciate that the federal government will allow the voice of Washingtonians to be heard on this issue,” Inslee said in a news release.
In its own news release, the U.S. Department of Justice announced “an update to its federal marijuana enforcement policy” to focus on eight concerns, including preventing marijuana from spreading beyond states where it is legalized.The other things the DOJ hopes to prevent are the distribution to minors, violence related to distribution, drugged driving, revenue going to criminal enterprises, the use of marijuana as a cover for other illegal activities, pot growth on public lands and use on federal property.The DOJ will rely on local law enforcement agencies to enforce their own marijuana laws, but will be ready to “aggressively” step in if states do not adopt an effective and strict regulatory scheme, Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote in a memo to all U.S. Attorneys.“We share those concerns and are confident our state initiative will be implemented as planned,” Inslee said of the new DOJ policy.Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson scheduled a news conference for 11:30 a.m.They and many others, have been pushing the federal government to leave Washington’s law alone since it passed as Initiative 502 with 55.7 percent of the vote.Inslee sent a letter to Holder in February detailing 21 ways the state will carefully implement the law “with public safety being our paramount responsibility.” He told the attorney general that “the world is watching.”The next month, Holder said at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that he would be announcing a policy on Washington and Colorado’s laws “relatively soon.”But weeks and months then dragged on without a decision. Seven congressional Democrats sent a letter in June asking Holder to assure Washington state pot users and sellers they won’t be “penalized by the federal government for activities legal under state law.”With no decision announced, Holder had been invited to give an update to the Judiciary Committee committee on Sept. 10.Today, some local officials expressed happiness with Holder’s decision.“Seattle public safety officials, residents and entrepreneurs can now proceed with confidence that the will of the voters has prevailed in Washington,” Mayor Mike McGinn wrote in a statement.Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel added that “our department will continue our mission of public safety, harm reduction, and public education encouraging safe and lawful behavior with regards to the guidelines for marijuana established by Washington voters.”Initiative 502 campaign manager Alison Holcomb said in an interview that Holder’s decision was “incredibly exhilarating.”“I’m very excited for the Washington voters that they now have clarity that they will in fact get to lead the nation in taking a new approach to marijuana,” she said.More to come.Source: Seattle Times (WA)Author: Brian M. RosenthalPublished: August 29, 2013Copyright: 2013 The Seattle Times CompanyContact: opinion seatimes.comWebsite:  -- Cannabis  Archives 
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on August 29, 2013 at 12:02:48 PT
What Hope I Have Now
We have made progress. There won't be any change in the direction we are going. It will get better and better.
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