Friday, June 9, 2023

Washington State Officials Fire Back At Sessions

Washington state’s two top elected officials — Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson — fired back at the nation’s top law enforcement officer over marijuana legislation. Basically, Inslee and Ferguson have told U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he is blowing smoke when it comes to rational drug policy.

The two state officials on Tuesday strongly replied to a letter from Sessions warning that the federal government could begin enforcing federal laws against cannabis in the state that legalized it in 2012.

“Your letter … makes a number of allegations that are outdated, incorrect, or based on incomplete information,”  Inslee and Ferguson, both Democrats, wrote to Sessions. The letter was first reported by Tom Angell at MassRoots.

“We have twice requested an in-person meeting with you because we believe it will lead to better understanding than exchanging letters,” the Washington leaders wrote. “If we can engage in a more direct dialogue, we might avoid this sort of miscommunication and make progress on the issues that are important to both of us. ”

The letter takes issue with Sessions on a number of positions and requests a meeting to discuss:

  • Whether DOJ intends to follow recommendations from its Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety — in particular, its reported recommendation to continue previous federal policy on state legalization of marijuana.
  • Whether President Trump’s previous statements of support for medical marijuana, and leaving recreational marijuana legalization to the states, represent the policy of the federal government.
  • Whether DOJ will support reasonable federal policies allowing financial institutions to provide service to licensed marijuana businesses, in order to avoid the public safety risks and transparency problems associated with all-cash businesses.
  • How state-regulated marijuana should be treated by the federal government following the President’s declaration that the opioid crisis constitutes a national emergency, and whether the federal government will support objective, independent research into the effects of marijuana law reform on opioid use and abuse.
  • Whether the federal government will help protect public health by supporting agricultural research on the safety of pesticides used in marijuana cultivation.
  • Whether the federal government will support research into expedited roadside DUI testing methods for law enforcement, as alternatives to blood draws.

Inslee and Ferguson reminded Sessions that the Washington voters had spoken very clearly on the issue of legalized marijuana:

“We encourage you to keep in mind why we are having this conversation. State and federal prohibition of marijuana failed to prevent its widespread use, which was generating huge profits for violent criminal organizations. The people of Washington State chose by popular vote to try a different path. Under Washington’s system, responsible adults are allowed access to a highly regulated product that returns substantial tax revenues to the government even as it displaces illegal activity.”



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