Chris Grygiel reports on Governor Gregoire’s meeting with the feds over I-502:
Gregoire met with Deputy Attorney General James Cole in Washington, D.C. She told Cole she would prefer to know “sooner rather than later,” because Washington state is getting ready to decriminalize pot, which is still illegal under federal law.
“I told them, ‘Make no mistake, that absent an injunction of some sort, it’s our intent to implement decriminalization,’ ” Gregoire told The Associated Press. “I don’t want to spend a lot of money implementing this if you are going to attempt to block it.”
The cynical side of me wonders if Gregoire sought this meeting as a way to fish for excuses to block the implementation of I-502. Whenever I discuss Gregoire and her history with drug policy, I’m always reminded by folks that she’s a potential contender for Eric Holder’s job. And maybe just having this meeting is enough for her to play nice with an Obama Administration that’s been more mute than I expected so far.
But for the potential marijuana entrepreneurs here in Washington, there’s a much bigger concern about moving forward with the regulations only to have the federal government come in later. I-502 requires state licensing of all retailers, producers, and processors. If the state starts licensing all these people for a year, there’s a danger that the feds now have a good list of names to start with if they decide to crack down. I’m sure that’s not Gregoire’s biggest concern, but it’s certainly a much more serious one.
UPDATE: Governor-elect Inslee put out a very positive statement about supporting and defending the implementation of I-502. I was definitely disappointed that he didn’t support this initiative during his campaign, but I’m cautiously optimistic he’ll start to recognize how drug law reform is as important a pillar of good progressive governance as clean energy, health care, public education, and equal rights.