Seven Washington state Democrats are calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to “respect the will of voters” in states that have legalized marijuana.
Holder said in February that his department would soon unveil a policy on how to deal with Washington and Colorado, whose voters approved marijuana possession in limited quantities and regulated production and sale of the plant.
Lawmakers says that seven months after voters approved Initiative 502 in Washington state, the DOJ dragging its feet on a course of action has left “residents, businesses, and investors in a state of uncertainty.”
Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Reps. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Denny Heck (D-Wash.), Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), and Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) requested that Holder “announce this course of action as soon as possible to assure our citizens that they will not be penalized by the federal government for activities legal under state law.”
They asked Holder to exercise his “significant discretionary authority by choosing now to pursue preemption of these laws” or prosecute state residents. The lawmakers also want to make sure banking laws aren’t used against pot proprietors who do business in a method other than cash.
“Businesses looking to enter this new market and invest in and add jobs to our economies are seeking the security that your decision would provide,” they wrote. “Further delay will slow the potential for economic advancement and could lead to wasted resources, two outcomes that can be avoided with a prompt announcement by DOJ.”
“During a time of constrained federal resources, we believe DOJ has higher priorities than the pursuit of legal action against persons in compliance with the laws of the states.”