Sessions claimed, in a recent letter on Washington’s implementation of cannabis legalization, that Washington State marijuana is being diverted to “43 other states.” The Attorney General’s letter also claims that there have been 17 explosions at butane hash oil (BHO) laboratories in Washington, reports Joel Connelly at the Seattle PI.
Sessions has said cannabis is “only slightly less awful than heroin.” Last year, in testimony before Congress, he claimed that “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
The Attorney General also claimed that Washington’s medical marijuana market is “considered ‘grey’ due to lack of regulation and oversight.” Sessions seems unaware that the heretofore legal medical marijuana community in Washington state was, for all practical purposes, shut down by the Legislature as of July 1 last year. Patients and providers without I-502 licenses were forced either out of the community or into the black market.
Hey Sessions, Get A Clue
Gov. Inslee’s and Atty. Ferguson’s Tuesday reply said, in so many words, that Sessions doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. The letter’s allegations “are outdated, incorrect, or based on incomplete information,” the state leaders wrote to Sessions.
“We have requested an in-person meeting with you because we believe it will lead to better understanding than exchanging letters. If we can engage in a more direct dialogue, we might avoid this sort of miscommunication and make progress on the issues that are important to both of us.”
“Your letter fails to clearly acknowledge that this (43 state) statistic covers several years before our recreational sales even began, and reveals nothing about whether the sources of the marijuana were legal or illegal.
“Again, your intent is for our state-regulated marijuana market to displace and destroy illegal marijuana activity.”
Inslee and Ferguson asked for both a sit-down with Sessions, and “further appropriate meetings” between Washington State and federal Department of Justice officials.
Inslee and Ferguson also reacted to Sessions’ claims about medical marijuana being unregulated in Washington state.
“We realigned medical marijuana to bring it within the state’s far more stringent recreational system,” wrote the Governor and AG.
In fact, they told Sessions, a subsequent 2017 report by the feds made clear that:
“as of July 1, 2016, the long-standing illegally operating dispensaries were shut down or became licensed retailers; sales are now subject to taxation and medical marijuana products now must pass strict packaging and testing requirements before being sold to patients.”
“Your letter, relying on the old . . . report, ignores this important development.”
Inslee, Initially Skeptical, Now Supports Legalization
Gov. Inslee opposed I-502, the 2012 initiative approved by voters which legalized marijuana in Washington state. But the letter sent by the Governor and Atty. Gen. Ferguson to Sessions says that the state has made the law work.
“We encourage you to keep in mind why we are having this conversation. State and federal prohibition of marijuana failed to prevent its widespread use, which was generating huge profits for violent criminal organizations.
“The people of Washington State chose by popular vote to try a different path. Under Washington’s system, responsible adults are allowed access to a highly regulated product that returns substantial tax revenues to the government even as it displaces illegal activity.”