Follow us:

The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

January 18, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Inslee, Ferguson to talk pot with U.S. Attorney General Holder

Gov. Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson are traveling to Washington, D.C., next week to meet with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss marijuana enforcement and implementation of Initiative 502, our state’s voter-approved legal pot law.

The state law conflicts with federal law, which maintains that all forms of marijuana are illegal.

As the state begins to establish regulations for a new legal marijuana industry, and investors prepare to plow money into it, questions loom about whether the federal government will crack down on Washington or look the other way.

“We know there are issues with federal enforcement,” said Inslee spokesman David Postman, and Inslee and Ferguson want to talk face-to-face with Holder. “I’d say this is the start of a substantive conversation,” Postman said.

The meeting is supposed to occur Tuesday.

Janelle Guthrie, spokeswoman for Ferguson, said she expects “a broad-based discussion at this point of implementation and enforcement” with Holder, the country’s top law officer. Guthrie said she’s wasn’t aware of specific questions Inslee and Ferguson would ask.

President Obama has said recreational pot smoking in Colorado and Washington, the two states that have legalized it, is not a major concern for his administration.

“We’ve got bigger fish to fry,” Obama said in an interview with ABC News last month. “It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal.”

But some pot advocates remain leery, because earlier statements from the administration that it wouldn’t go after individual medical-marijuana users were followed by crackdowns on dispensaries and others who grew and sold the pot. The Justice Department has declined to say whether it would file a lawsuit to block the laws.

Local law enforcement leaders also are awaiting clearer signs from the federal government about its intentions.

Holder said last month he would announce a policy on the new state laws “relatively soon.”

In a statement following Obama’s comment about pot last month, Inslee said “I believe there is good reason to be confident that our state will move forward.”

Postman said he hopes to report on what was learned at the meeting with Holder next week.

Comments | More in Politics | Topics: Bob Ferguson, Eric Holder, Jay Inslee

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►