“We want to find a pathway forward. But if it comes to it, the Washington Attorney General’s Office will be prepared for a legal fight” WA Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
By Kevin Robillard | Published in Politico.comGov. Inslee swearing to uphold the state’s constitution, met with Eric Holder to discuss how to implement the state’s new cannabis law.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said a Tuesday meeting with Attorney General Eric Holder was a “confidence builder” as his state moves to step up a legal market for marijuana.
“We went in thinking we should continue with rule-making and nothing I heard should dissuade us,” Inslee, a Democrat, told the Seattle Times after the 45-minute meeting.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson also attended the meeting.
Inslee told the paper Holder didn’t signal whether the federal government would crack down on the state, and he didn’t press the issue because he expects further meetings on the topic.
He also said he promised Holder the state would work to prevent legal marijuana from spreading outside the Evergreen State’s borders.
In November, Washington voters approved a referendum legalizing possession of less than an ounce of marijuana and the creation of legal markets for the drug, which remains illegal under federal law.
“We spent some time talking about how the initiative would work, how the regulatory process would work,” Inslee said. “He listened with great interest, and I appreciated that.”
Ferguson, a Democrat, said he told Holder he hoped to avoid a court battle over the new law, but he had a team of lawyers preparing for one.
“I said we want to avoid a legal fight,” Ferguson said. “We want to find a pathway forward. But if it comes to it, the Washington Attorney General’s Office will be prepared for a legal fight.”
Colorado also legalized marijuana on Election Day, and is similarly preparing a legal market for the drug.
President Barack Obama has signaled he isn’t eager to fight over the issue, telling ABC News in December that the White House has “bigger fish to fry.”
The Justice Department confirmed the meeting to POLITICO, but wouldn’t release any details.