Washington State AG Not Impressed With Federal AG Sessions’ Position On Legalized Marijuana

     The following letter was received by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Robert Ferguson from US Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The letter is in response to three letters that Washington state officials, as well as the Governors from Colorado, Alaska and Oregon, had sent to Sessions encouraging their inclusion in policy decisions and changes regarding marijuana in their respective states. Cannabiz Journal believes that to paraphrase the letter would do an injustice to our readers so it is duplicated here in its entirety.

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Aug. 4, 2017

AG Ferguson statement on Sessions letter

     OLYMPIA — In response to a letter from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding Washington’s marijuana regulations, Attorney General Bob Ferguson offered the following statement:
     “I was disappointed by Attorney General Sessions’ letter, which relies on incomplete, inaccurate and out-of-date information on the status of Washington’s marijuana regulations. I’m also disappointed that he has yet to accept my repeated invitations to meet in person to discuss this critical issue face to face. If he does accept, I look forward to providing him with a more complete picture of the robust regulatory program that exists in our state.
     “Any action from the Department of Justice short of allowing our well-regulated, voter-approved system to continue is unacceptable. I will continue to defend the will of Washington voters.”

Aug. 4, 2017  

AG and Governor offer additional detail on Sessions letter  

     OLYMPIA — Following their statements earlier today, Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Governor Jay Inslee offer two examples of misleading information in U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ letter dated July 24:
     From the letter’s first bullet: “The medical market for (for marijuana) is considered ‘grey’ due to the lack of regulation and oversight and furthermore, aspects of Washington’s regulatory structure for the ‘medical market’ have unintentionally led to the growth of the black market enterprises.” 
     Response: This information pre-dates Washington state’s 2015 Cannabis Patient Protection Act, bringing the medical marijuana market under the same robust regulatory system as recreational marijuana. Washington’s Liquor and Cannabis Board verified all unlicensed storefronts were closed July 1, 2016.  

  Also from the letter: “In 2014 alone, 17 THC extraction labs exploded”  

Response: In three years of legalization, no licensed extraction business has exploded. The incidents referred to in Sessions’ letter were black- or gray-market facilities, often using butane in an enclosed space rather than a lab.