A proposal that was going to make licensed marijuana dispensaries was recently vetoed by Washington State Governor, Christine Gregoire. Gregoire said she would be working with other states and try to get a change in federal laws so that these types of conflicts will be resolved.
U.S. attorneys in their letters wrote that civil or criminal penalties would be considered for medical marijuana operations on a large-scale and those who regulate them, even those operations and regulators that are allowed by state law.
Lawmakers are now concerned about their current medical marijuana policies even though no state workers have been charged by the federal government for regulating medical marijuana. Presently, fourteen states in the United States of America permit marijuana for medical usage, despite it not being federally legal.
The WA governor said she wanted to collaborate with other governors and get medical marijuana federally reclassified as a Schedule 2 substance that would put it in the same category as morphine and oxycodone. Medical marijuana is presently a Schedule 1 narcotic, and has the strictest level of enforcement in federal drug law.
Tracy Schmaller, Justice Department spokeswoman said, “We will not tolerate drug traffickers who hide behind claims of compliance with state law to mask activities that are clearly illegal.” Ezra Eickmeyer, Washington Cannabis Association political director, said this about the recent events, “Coming in and trying to strong-arm legislatures is way over the top. We would have expected this sort of thing from the Bush administration, but not Obama.”
According to the National Drug Policy Alliance, fifteen states and the District of Columbia have statutes decriminalizing marijuana for medical reasons despite the fact that cannabis is still listed as an illegal narcotic under federal law.
In recent months, the Justice Department has taken a hard line against what it terms illegal drug activities conducted under the guise of state medical marijuana laws.
New state controls on medical marijuana cultivation and distribution would not render growers, dispensary operators or even their landlords and financiers immunity from federal prosecution and civil actions, as per Washington’s two U.S. attorneys, Jenny Durkan of Seattle and Michael Ormsby of Spokane in a legal opinion. They wrote that “state employees who conducted activities mandated by the Washington legislative proposals would not be immune from liability” from prosecution.