November 12, 2012 at 8:55 PM
Gregoire to meet Tuesday with Justice Department about marijuana law
The Associated Press and The Seattle Times
Gov. Chris Gregoire will meet with U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole on Tuesday to discuss state voters’ decision last week to legalize and tax the sale of marijuana for recreational use.
Marijuana remains a banned substance under federal law, and it is not clear what the federal response will be.
Gregoire spokesman Cory Curtis said Monday that Gregoire wanted to meet with federal officials because “we want direction from them.”
“Our goal is to respect the will of the voters, but give us some clarity,” he said.
Initiative 502 passed with 55 percent of the vote. The measure decriminalizes possession of up to an ounce of marijuana beginning Dec. 6, but the state has a year to come up with rules governing the state-licensed growing, processing and labeling of pot before sales to adults can start. It also establishes new DUI law for marijuana. Home-grows and public display or use of pot remain barred.
“Our biggest concern is that the state has a fairly big startup cost in creating the whole licensing and regulating scheme around this,” Curtis said. “We want some sort of clarity on this before we get a year down the road on the process.”
Colorado also passed a legalization measure. Colorado’s governor and attorney general spoke by phone Friday with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, with no signal whether the Justice Department would sue to block the measure.
Gregoire’s meeting was a late addition to her schedule, Curtis said. Gregoire is in Washington, he said, to meet with Pentagon officials about issues involving the National Guard, and with Energy Secretary Steven Chu to discuss plans to deal with a leak at a double-walled tank of waste at Hanford, the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site.
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