Pot still illegal under federal law, U.S. attorney warns

The federal government has finally responded to Washington’s voter-approved initiative to legalize recreational marijuana for adults.

Sort of.

This afternoon, a statement from U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan in Seattle reiterated that marijuana remains illegal under federal law. The new law goes into effect Thursday.

The Department of Justice responsibility to enforce the federal Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged, the statement says.

“Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on Dec. 6 in Washington State, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law,” the statement adds.

The Department of Justice is still reviewing the legalization efforts in both Washington and Colorado, which passed a similar legalization law last month.

What the press release doesn’t say is what the federal government intends to do about the laws in Washington or Colorado or whether they will take the states to court.

In the press release, Durkan advised people to remember that it remains against federal law to bring any amount of marijuana onto federal property, including all federal buildings, national parks and forests, military installations, and courthouses.

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