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Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo Thursday that reverses an Obama-era policy that enabled states to legalize marijuana without federal intervention. But that memo sparked a swift reaction from officials in Washington state, where recreational marijuana has been legal for 5 years now.

 Here is Washington governor Jay Inslee, whose constituents voted to legalize marijuana some five years ago:

“If news reports are accurate, today’s forthcoming announcement from Attorney General Sessions is the wrong direction for our state. It also disrespects Washington voters who have chosen a different path for our state. I am especially frustrated that this announcement comes after Sessions has refused offers from [Washington state] Attorney General [Bob] Ferguson and myself to meet with him to discuss these policies in person, after he has disregarded the input that we and other state leaders have provided to his department.”

Asserting that Washington’s regulatory system reduces criminal activity and keeps marijuana out of the hands of children, he continued:

“Make no mistake: As we have told the Department of Justice ever since I-502 was passed in 2012, we will vigorously defend our state’s law against undue federal infringement.”

Here is Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker, whose state is expected to open its dispensaries sometime later this year:

“The Baker-Polito Administration full supports the will of the voters and the [Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission]’s mission. The administration believes this is the wrong decision and will review any potential impacts from any policy changes by the local U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

Colorado senator Cory Gardner, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee charged with defending GOP incumbents in the 2018 midterm elections, is especially worked up today, since he is the one who proudly told reporters last winter that he would vote to confirm Sessions as Attorney General only after securing Sessions’ word that the Justice Department would not interfere with state-level decisions about marijuana policy. (Great work, senator! Your constituents are probably just thrilled with you right now.)

Needless to say, stoners and proponents are not happy, and this brazen attempt to undermine the will of the voters and feed the prison industrial complex will not go over without a fight.

 

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