Since United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions first criticized the Washington cannabis industry in July 2017, Gov. Jay Inslee and Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson have defended the industry; however, Sessions’ memo on Jan. 4, 2018, announcing a reversal of federal cannabis enforcement policy, may have prompted the state to bolster its position.
On Jan. 22, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board issued a bulletin on behalf of the Washington State Attorney General’s Office to Washington cannabis industry stakeholders.
“The Liquor and Cannabis Board has not made any changes to its state marijuana regulatory program, but is monitoring the impact of this federal action on Washington residents and welcomes your comments,” the WSLCB wrote in its bulletin. “If you have experienced a change in your business practices or customer relationships that you believe is connected to the Sessions Memo, we invite you to share your experiences at email@example.com.”
While it is unclear if Ferguson’s call for feedback is to build a defense for potential prosecution by the federal government or to build a case against the feds, it is evident that the Evergreen State is not backing down.
“Make no mistake: As we have told the Department of Justice ever since I-502 was passed in 2012, we will vigorously defend our state’s laws against undue federal infringement,” Inslee said in a press release upon first learning of Sessions’ memo.
On Jan. 4, during a press conference on TVW, the state’s public affairs station, Ferguson explained that it would be premature to take legal action at that point, but that his office was examining doing so as a possible course of action to protect the Washington cannabis industry.
“It’s too soon to say in terms of a legal response to the action taken by Attorney General Sessions today, obviously our team’s looking at it. I’ll want to consult carefully with obviously the governor who’s got strong views on the subject, like I do, and legislative leaders like Rep. Sawyer.”