Washington State readies for battle with Trump over legalized cannabis

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Governor Jay Inslee, both Democrats, have fired a shot over the bow of the Trump administration and indicated plans to defend the will of  voters after White House press secretary Sean Spicer suggested yesterday that the federal government may crack down on states that have legalized recreational cannabis.

In an open letter to newly confirmed U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions, Ferguson requested a meeting and indicated they are prepared to defend the state’s system.

“I was deeply disappointed to hear the White House Press Secretary’s comments today regarding marijuana legalization by states like Washington,” he wrote. “Last week, Governor Inslee joined me in sending a letter to Attorney General Sessions, asking for a meeting on this issue. I look forward to sharing how our state’s approach is working.”

Washington voters legalized recreational cannabis use nearly four years ago. At the time, the U.S. Attorney General’s Office promised to take a hands-off approach as long people kept it away from children and prevented locally grown cannabis from crossing state lines. Under a new attorney general that could change, as selling it still remains a crime under federal law.

Spicer offered no details about what any renewed federal efforts in legal-cannabis states might entail but said he expected “greater enforcement.”

“I will also be very clear with AG Sessions that I will defend the will of Washington voters. My office will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that the federal government does not undermine Washington’s successful, unified system for regulating recreational and medical cannabis.”

At the time of this posting, President Trump hadn’t yet tweeted a response.

Read the full letter here.