AP: Feds won't sue Washington over recreational marijuana law

It appears I-502 will come to fruition. Washington voters passed the law legalizing recreational marijuana use for adults and allowing for the creation of a manufacture, distribution and retail sale system of the drug.

The Associated Press is reporting the federal government will not sue Washington or Colorado for their recreational initiatives.

You can read the AP report here.

Retail shops are expected to open sometime early to mid 2014, per the Washington State Liquor Control Board who is implementing I-502.

Seattle's mayor and chief of police responded to the news in a prepared statement:

“Washington voters overwhelmingly approved the legalization of marijuana last year, a policy that I fully support,” Mayor Mike McGinn said in his statement. “Since then, we have wondered what the course of action would be for federal officials, for whom marijuana remains an illegal substance. Today, I applaud US Attorney-General Holder’s announcement that he will not interfere with the will of Washington voters. Seattle public safety officials, residents and entrepreneurs can now proceed with confidence that the will of the voters has prevailed in Washington.”

“I am pleased that Attorney-General Holden has provided clarity about the future of I-502 in Washington State,” SPD Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel said. “Our department will continue our mission of public safety, harm reduction, and public education encouraging safe and lawful behavior with regards to the guidelines for marijuana established by Washington voters.”

From the federal perspective, U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan shared the following:

"We have consistently focused on federal enforcement priorities in Western Washington, and have worked with our state and local partners to ensure the safety of our communities. That will not change. We will continue to enforce the Controlled Substances Act. We will continue an aggressive focus on the promotion and sale of drugs to minors, violence and the use of firearms, and the trafficking of marijuana across state or international lines. We will continue our work against organized criminal organizations and their underground economy, and against those who would use drug proceeds to fund other criminal activity.

"The Department guidance is premised on the expectation that the state will implement strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems. This also is what Washington voters were promised and we expect no less today. I look forward to meeting with state leaders to hear how the promises of enhanced public safety will be met.

"The continued operation and proliferation of unregulated, for-profit entities outside of the state's regulatory and licensing scheme is not tenable and violates both state and federal law. While our resources are limited, we will continue to enforce federal law in this arena by focusing on the critical public and federal interests outlined in the Department memo today.

"This is an important moment for Washington, and I remain committed to working with law enforcement partners to focus on our priorities and address threats to public safety."

Members of the public are also advised that it remains against federal law to bring any amount of marijuana onto federal property, including all federal buildings, federal lands including national parks and forests, military installations, and courthouses. Individuals that do so will be subject to federal penalties.

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