Gregoire: No fed decision yet on pot legalization

SEATTLE — Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said Tuesday the federal government still hasn’t decided whether to take action to block new laws legalizing marijuana in her state and Colorado.

Gregoire met with Deputy Attorney General James Cole in Washington, D.C. She told Cole she would prefer to know “sooner rather than later,” because Washington state is in the process of getting ready to decriminalize pot, which is still illegal under federal law.

“I told them, ‘Make no mistake, that absent an injunction of some sort, it’s our intent to implement decriminalization,’” Gregoire told The Associated Press. “I don’t want to spend a lot of money implementing this if you are going to attempt to block it.”

Initiative 502 passed last week with 55 percent of the vote in the state. It decriminalizes the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana beginning Dec. 6. The state would license the growing, processing and labeling of marijuana, but state officials have a year to come up with those rules before sales can begin.

Colorado also passed a measure legalizing the drug.

Federal lawyers are reviewing the two new state laws, trying to determine what their response will be, Gregoire said.

“It’s not a simple analysis for them,” she said. “There’s a difference between our two initiatives, and they want to look at that. They clearly want to know how things are going to flow, how regulations develop, how enforcement would be taken, taxes would be gathered.”

She said she pressed Cole as to whether the ultimate federal response would treat both Washington and Colorado the same way, and Justice Department officials indicated to her that that was their intent.

In Washington, home-growing marijuana for recreational reasons remains barred, as does the public display or use of pot. The measure also establishes a standard blood test limit for driving under the influence, and Gregoire says the Washington State Patrol has to begin training officers to enforce that portion of the measure.

“He can’t wait, he’s got to start doing this,” Washington’s governor said.

Gregoire said she promised to keep the Justice Department fully informed as to the progress the state is making in implementing the new marijuana law.

Colorado’s governor and attorney general spoke by phone Friday with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, with no signal whether the U.S. Justice Department would sue to block the marijuana measure.

If Colorado’s marijuana ballot measure is not blocked, it would take effect by Jan. 5, the deadline for the governor to add the amendment to the state Constitution. The measure allows adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, and six marijuana plants, though public use of the drug and driving while intoxicated are prohibited.

Colorado’s new law also directs lawmakers to write regulations on how pot can be sold, with commercial sales possible by 2014.

More in Local News

Ian Terry / The Herald Westbound cars merge from Highway 204 and 20th Street Southeast onto the trestle during the morning commute on Thursday, March 30 in Lake Stevens. Photo taken on 03302017
Pay a toll on US 2 trestle? 10,000 say no on social media

A GOP lawmaker’s chart shows theoretical toll rates of up to $6.30 to cross the trestle one way.

Firefighters come to the rescue and give mom new stroller

Donations to the Good Neighbor Program covered the $143.20 cost.

February trial set for suspect in deadly Marysville shooting

There had been questions about Wayne Alpert’s mental health.

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Motorcyclist killed in crash had high level of THC

A motorcyclist had more than eight times the legal limit… Continue reading

Police: Driver threatens pedestrian, ends up in drug bust

Meth, cocaine and heroin were found in his car, along with a loaded pistol and cash, police say.

Son arrested for hitting father on head at Marysville home

The father grabbed a metal rod and struck his son in the head, too. Both needed medical treatment.

Cheering families welcome Kidd, Shoup after 6 months at sea

“I get back Daddy back today,” said one homemade sign at Naval Station Everett.

Lynnwood 15-year-old charged in killing of Everett woman

He told police that he and four other teens intended to rob the victim’s son, who was also shot.

Most Read