Washington gov. cheers ‘very satisfying’ marijuana meeting with AG Holder

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 9:09 EDT
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A marijuana plant at sunset. Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.
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Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said Tuesday that a 45-minute meeting he had with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the state’s intent to regulate and tax marijuana was “very satisfying.”

He added that the nation’s top law enforcement official said nothing to dissuade him from moving forward with implementation of Initiative 502, passed by a wide majority of Washington voters last November.

Inslee told reporters on a conference call Tuesday that Holder asked a lot of questions and was particular interested in the specific regulations being discussed behind-the-scenes. The two discussed how growers and sellers might be handled by the state, and how Washington officials plan to keep the cash crop from spreading outside its borders.

While Inslee said he did not get any indication from Holder as to whether the Department of Justice is planning to sue to block implementation, Attorney General Bob Ferguson claims he warned the AG that the state is willing to go to court to defend the will of its voters.

“I don’t believe we should put the brakes on this,” Inslee added, according to Seattle-based news website Crosscut. “We should continue in a rational way to make these rules, and that’s the direction we’re going to pursue.”

He said the meeting was more of an introduction to a much broader conversation that will be taking place over the coming months as regulators move toward licensing marijuana production.

It’s still not clear what the federal government plans to do in Colorado and Washington, the only two states to legalize recreational marijuana use. President Barack Obama (D) told ABC News in December that he’s got “bigger fish to fry” than “going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal” — a statement that could imply, as it did with medical marijuana, that the feds intend to focus on busting growers and distributors rather than petty users

Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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