This morning, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder informed the governors of Washington and Colorado that the Department of Justice would not interfere with the states' implementation of ballot initiatives legalizing the recreational use of marijuana for adults.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), in a memo sent to U.S. attorneys across the country, described the decision as part of an update to its federal marijuana enforcement policy, which will now focus on eight specific concerns, including preventing the use of marijuana by minors and making sure legal marijuana products in Washington and Colorado do not travel across state lines.
The DOJ plans to rely on local law enforcement agencies to enforce their own marijuana laws, but reserves the right to "aggressively" step in if they feel the states are not adopting effective regulatory schemes.
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee held a news conference earlier today to discuss the change in policy, and cautioned that there are still some unanswered questions, including concerns about differing regulations for the state's medical marijuana system, and whether interstate banks will be willing to work with state marijuana businesses given the fact the federal government still considers pot illegal.
The Washington State Liquor Control Board, charged with writing and implementing the state's marijuana regulations, responded with a statement thanking the Obama administration and particularly Mr. Holder and the Dept. of Justice for its guidance today.
For more information:
Feds won't challenge Washington's pot law (Seattle Times)