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Holder Urged to Avoid Marijuana Showdown With States

Image: Holder Urged to Avoid Marijuana Showdown With States Northwest Cannabis Market in Seattle opened for sales of medical marijuana products on Feb. 13. Recreational marijuana sales are expected to begin late this year.

Wednesday, 19 Jun 2013 12:23 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

Seven congressional Democrats from Washington have asked Attorney General Eric Holder for assurance the Justice Department won't punish those who sell and smoke marijuana under the state's new recreational pot law.

Washington voters in November approved legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults. But it is still illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act.

In a letter released Tuesday, Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, and Reps. Adam Smith, Jim McDermott, Suzan DelBene, Denny Heck, and Derek Kilmer, asked Holder to assure marijuana users and sellers that they won't be prosecuted, The Seattle Times reports.

"We hope that you will exercise your significant discretionary authority by choosing not to ... prosecute our residents and state employees acting in compliance with these laws," the letter states.

Marijuana could be sold in stores in Washington as early as next year and will be supervised under the auspices of the state's Liquor Control Board.

The drug will be taxed, with revenues going toward healthcare and programs for the prevention of substance abuse.


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