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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

November 7, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Justice Department: Federal marijuana law ‘unchanged’ by legalization

UPDATE 11:02 a.m. Justice Department headquarters issued an identical statement to Durkan’s this morning, indicating that Washington D.C., not Washington’s two U.S. Attorneys, will be dictating what comes next.

ORIGINAL POST: U.S. Attorney for Seattle Jenny Durkan’s office released a terse statement this morning in response to passage of Initiative 502, legalizing recreational marijuana use. Durkan is out of the area, said spokesperson Emily Langlie, and is not available to answer questions about the conflict between the federal marijuana ban and state de-criminalization of marijuana possession (as of Dec. 6). Langlie said this is all Durkan’s office has “for now.”

The Department of Justice’s enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged.  In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance. The Department is reviewing the ballot initiative here and in other states and has no additional comment at this time.

On election night, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said he’d spoken to Durkan on Tuesday and was assured — but not guaranteed — that the federal government “has no plans, except to talk.”

Holmes has said he believes the Justice Department will be reassured by the I-502’s tight regulatory control – no home-grows, sales of no more than an ounce, a ban on sales to people under 21, etc. – and will decided not sue.

“We’re having really good conversations, but no promises,” Holmes said Tuesday night.

Comments | More in homepage, Marijuana, Politics Northwest | Topics: initiative 502, Jenny Durkan

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