It might not be the president’s policy to check facts. But U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions should do so before criticizing states about their marijuana policies.
It seems Sessions knows what he knows and likes what he knows. Never mind the facts. That approach does not foster good relations with the 28 states that have legalized some form of use of marijuana, including a half-dozen that legalized recreational use.
In Washington, medicinal marijuana has been legal and available for nearly two decades. State voters in 2012 took another step by authorizing a state-regulated recreational marijuana market, and the Legislature in 2015 acted to bring the medicinal market under the same tighter regulations.
In a recent letter to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Sessions warned — correctly — that weed use is still illegal under federal law. But he asserted that Washington’s medical marijuana market is operating in a gray area as a result of “the lack of regulation and oversight.”
That claim relied on outdated — if not false — information. State legislation adopted in 2015 began the merger of Washington’s medical and recreational marijuana markets. By July 2016, all unlicensed storefront dispensaries of medical marijuana were shut down, according to the state Liquor and Cannabis Board.
Those regulatory actions were taken in response to growing awareness by state policy makers that tighter rules were needed.
Better regulation was also a key part of this state’s working relationship with the Obama administration, which recognized the ongoing failures of the U.S. war on drugs. Obama’s DOJ tolerated state experiments with marijuana policy on condition they had strong oversight.
After President Donald Trump took office in January, the change in administrations raised new questions about marijuana policy’s future. In