SPOKANE, Wash. -- Local marijuana growers and advocates celebrated the federal government’s announcement that the Department of Justice would not sue Washington or Colorado to stop the states from allowing recreational marijuana use.
"I think it's a great day for government by the people, said Liquor Control Board Member Chris Marr. “I'm sure there are still people who still have concerns going forward, and that's what we have to address in rulemaking and regulatory enforcement process."
In a letter to Governor Jay Inslee, the U.S. Attorney General wrote the “Department of Justice…will not at this time seek to challenge your state’s law…” The AG did lay out eight enforcement priorities the federal government was most concerned about, however, including preventing access to marijuana for minors, keeping legal pot within state boundaries, and making sure gangs and drug cartels do not benefit from any sales.
Pacific Northwest Medical said Thursday’s announcement was something to celebrate as the shop’s owners looked forward to growing for recreational marijuana users.
“It's not new news that marijuana is legal but it is news now that the feds are willing to accept the will of the voters," said Sean Green with Pacific Northwest Medical. “It’s a very positive step in the right direction.
Governor Inslee said Washington will become a model for the nation to legalize marijuana, but at least one advocate in Colorado was skeptical.
“In 2009, they released a similar memo saying that they would respect state medical marijuana laws,” said Brian Vicente with the group Sensible Colorado. “But, unfortunately, since that time, the Obama administration has overseen the closure of more state legal medical marijuana businesses than were closed during two terms of the Bush Administration."
For now, shops like Pacific Northwest Medical were hopeful. The store said it planned to hire 20 people as the shop looked toward the future.