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US Attorney on going after marijuana: ‘Even if I wanted to, I just couldn’t’


U.S. Attorney for Western Washington Brian Moran has been abundantly clear about the federal government’s position on Seattle’s current push for a safe injection site. But will he go after the state’s legalized marijuana industry as well?

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“The reality is even if I wanted to, I just couldn’t,” Moran told KTTH’s Jason Rantz, citing the massive resources it would take on the part of the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Initiative 502 was approved by voters in Washington in 2012, legalizing marijuana on a state level. Since then, the industry has evolved into a billion dollar industry constantly bracing for the specter of federal intervention.

For Moran, though, the issue isn’t so much the legality, as it is the difficult logistics of enforcing the federal laws regarding marijuana, and the voter initiative that approved its legalization in the first place.

“The federal government’s prosecution resources in this district are not well spent going after legal marijuana,” he said. “The voters voted for it — I accept that.”

What he would like to see from state officials is closer attention paid to the illegal marijuana trade.

“I just want to make sure the state doesn’t take an eye off the marijuana market,” he said.

Moran stopped short of voicing an opinion over whether he’d change his position on safe injection sites if state voters approved it in the form of a ballot measure.

That being said, he did cite a willingness to “take a hard look at it,” while still taking into account the federal law as it stands now.

“I would look to federal law guidance from other districts, and I don’t want to comment on on facts that aren’t before me,” he said.

For now, he emphasized his previously stated hard line position.

“If an injection site is stood up … [legal] action will be swift, sure and decisive,” he noted.

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