LOCAL NEWS

Washington AG to Jeff Sessions: I am disappointed and troubled by latest move

Jan 4, 2018, 8:31 AM | Updated: 1:27 pm
Bob Ferguson, legal marijuana...
Washington state AG Bob Ferguson said he is "disappointed and troubled" by Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly rescinding an Obama-era policy that allowed legalized marijuana to flourish. (AP via Canva)
(AP via Canva)

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions decided Thursday to rescind Obama-era policy that allowed states to operate recreational marijuana markets. He is replacing it with a new policy allowing federal prosecutors to decide how they will enforce national drug laws.

REPORT: US to end policy that let legal pot flourish

Western District U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes — based in Seattle — has since released a statement:

Today the Attorney General reiterated his confidence in the basic principles that guide the discretion of all U.S. Attorneys around the country, and directed that those principles shepherd enforcement of federal law regarding marijuana.  He also emphasized his belief that U.S. Attorneys are in the best position to address public safety in their districts, and address the crime control problems that are pressing in their communities.  Those principles have always been at the core of what the United States Attorney’s Office for Western Washington has done – across all threats to public safety, including those relating to marijuana.  As a result, we have investigated and prosecuted over many years cases involving organized crime, violent and gun threats, and financial crimes related to marijuana.  We will continue to do so to ensure – consistent with the most recent guidance from the Department – that our enforcement efforts with our federal, state, local and tribal partners focus on those who pose the greatest safety risk to the people and communities we serve.

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson says he is “disappointed and troubled” Sessions’ decision.

“I am disappointed … that AG Sessions plans to abandon the current federal policy on marijuana — a policy that respects states’ rights and focuses federal enforcement on key, shared areas of concern,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Over the past year, Sessions has demonstrated a stunning lack of knowledge about our state’s marijuana laws.

“If reports are accurate, Sessions is changing policy after refusing multiple requests for a meeting from Governor Jay Inslee and myself. I pledge to vigorously defend the will of the voters in Washington state.”

In a letter to Sessions dated Aug. 15, 2017, Inslee and Ferguson point out that Sessions ignored two requests for an in-person meeting. They write that a letter from Sessions that cites a report on marijuana in Washington “makes a number of allegations that are outdated, incorrect, or based on incomplete information.”

You can read the letter in its entirety here.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan responded to Sessions as well.

“While I was U.S. Attorney, I helped craft DOJ policy on legal marijuana. That policy properly deprioritized legal marijuana, ensured states had the guidance on how to implement medical marijuana to help patients and end the black market, and focused our efforts on protecting kids and targeting organized crime. Reversing course now is a misguided legal overreach and an attack on Seattle, the state of Washington and a majority of states where the voters have made their voices heard loud and clear.

“Seattle won’t be bullied by the Trump Administration which is obsessed with undoing progress that we’ve made on key issues, including legalization.”

Durkan says the federal government should spend its time partnering with King County to help fight the opioid epidemic. She says the Seattle Police Department will “not participate in any enforcement action related to legal businesses or small personal possession of marijuana by adults.”

AG Ferguson sues Motel 6

The reported move by Sessions will, as The Associated Press points out, will “add to the confusion about whether it’s OK to grow, buy or use marijuana in states where pot is legal.”

The change isn’t completely unexpected. Sessions has compared marijuana to drugs such as heroin, blaming it on spikes in violence.

Since the Obama administration announced in 2013 it would not stand in the way of states legalizing marijuana, the pot industry has flourished, becoming a multimillion-dollar industry.

Local News

(Photo from KIRO 7)...
Julia Dallas, KIRO 7 News and Bridget Chavez, KIRO 7 News

Redmond police using vehicle-mounted GPS tracking system to track down fleeing suspects

The Redmond Police Department started using StarChase Pursuit in January to safely pursue fleeing suspects.
1 day ago
...
Deedee Sun, KIRO 7 News

Murder of Kent teacher calls attention to mental health crisis in Washington

A Tacoma mom stabbed and killed on Wednesday has been identified as 66-year-old Gail Gese, a teacher at Cedar Heights Middle School in Kent.
1 day ago
In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Northwest, a Coast Guard rescue swimmer reac...
Associated Press

Man rescued by Coast Guard wanted in ‘Goonies’ fish incident

A man who was saved by a Coast Guard rescue swimmer at the mouth of the Columbia River as a massive wave rolled the yacht he was piloting Friday was wanted for a bizarre incident in which police said he left a dead fish at the Astoria, Oregon, home featured in the classic 1985 film, "The Goonies."
1 day ago
FILE - An Amazon company logo on the company's building in Schoenefeld near Berlin, Germany, March ...
Associated Press

Amazon violated labor law with delivery app

A Spanish court has ruled that Amazon broke labor laws by forcing more than 2,000 delivery drivers to use an app that the company controlled for scheduling work and payments and requiring them to use their own cars and cellphones on the job.
1 day ago
(KIRO 7)...
Shawn Garrett, KIRO 7 News

Deputies seize nearly 100 pounds of drugs during Tacoma arrest

Deputies with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department seized nearly 100 pounds of drugs while arresting a man with a felony warrant in Tacoma
2 days ago
police pursuit...
Matt Markovich

Source of pursuit deaths updates controversial data

Stats used by legislators to consider changing police pursuit laws may be in question.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Washington AG to Jeff Sessions: I am disappointed and troubled by latest move