Will the Feds Crack Down on Medical Marijuana in Washington?


A Greener Today

My latest Forbes column considers whether the failure of medical marijuana legislation in Washington is apt to trigger a federal crackdown. Here is how it starts:

Last week Washington's legislature ended its 2014 session without approving new restrictions on medical marijuana, a step that supporters portrayed as necessary to prevent federal interference as the state begins allowing the sale of cannabis for recreational use. After all, the Justice Department indicated in an August 29 memothat it would allow legalization to proceed in Washington and Colorado only if both states created "strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems." Washington's medical marijuana dispensaries, which are not licensed or regulated by the state, seem inconsistent with that expectation.

Jenny Durkan, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington, said as much the very day the DOJ memo was released. "The Department guidance is premised on the expectation that the state will implement strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems," she warned. "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."

Now that it looks like these unregulated entities will continue selling marijuana for another year or so at least, competing with the state-licensed stores that are supposed to start opening this summer, will Durkan feel compelled to crack down? Probably not, judging from her past behavior and a close examination of her public statements. Patience certainly seems like a more appropriate response, especially since Durkan is largely responsible for creating the situation that she now views as "not tenable."

Read the whole thing.

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  1. There’s already a robust black market trade in pot, despite its being a criminal enterprise. If weapons-drawn SWAT raids and draconian sentencing guidelines have done so little to curtail either consumers or producers, even after half a century, what does Holder et al. think onerous regulations on legal sources will accomplish?

  2. Well of course they’re gonna crack down! Can you just imagine the cannabis cloud that’s gonna form over Washington as a result of all of those unregulated(!!!!) pot shops?

  3. “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.”

    Should I be reading that with a Russian accent, or a German accent?

    1. The original German works best when hammering your subjects into the ground, especially when you’re doing it efficiently and with paperwork.

  4. Besides, I enjoy a rather different sort of drug.

  5. Unregulated ?!
    I believe that which is not allowed is forbidden.

  6. Reading all the local news stories about Washington’s legislation to set people free is enough to make you want to strangle kittens.

    The reporters will actually write things like, “Now that Marijuana is legal, state regulators have the thorny task of creating a marketplace

    It tells you how fundamentally ignorant people are.

    Without state regulators, how will prices be set, production meet demand? Those questions have actually been asked by reporters.

    1. Well, we needed the Obamacare health insurance exchanges to create a market for health insurance, right ?

      Seriously though, I’ve pointed out to my proggy friends that people who’s policies were cancelled due to Obamacare had to have bought those policies somewhere…so doesn’t that mean there was already a market ?

  7. Captain Obvious says, “They won’t crack down until after the midterms”.

    After the midterms, by the way, there will be little to hold Obama and his cronies back. He won’t have congress behind him, but since they don’t matter much anyway, God only knows what Obama will try to do. It may be like his first two years.

  8. God only knows what Obama will try to do.

    An intelligent Republican Congress would keep him occupied with hearings, investigations, and subpoenas.

  9. It has been the useful…..headlight/ and the logical information

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