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No word from Attorney General Eric Holder on legal marijuana; Gov. Jay Inslee says push ahead on rules

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Jan. 22, 2013 at 3:02 pm with No Comments »
January 22, 2013 3:11 pm

New Gov. Jay Inslee wants the state Liquor Control Board to move ahead with preparations to issue licenses to marijuana growers and sellers.

“I don’t believe we should put the brakes on this. I think we should continue in a rational way” with rulemaking, Inslee said today in a telephone news conference with state Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Inslee and Ferguson were in Washington, D.C., where they filled in U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on the law that legalized marijuana in Washington, including what tasks state employees are being asked to do. But Inslee said Holder didn’t telegraph whether his Justice Department will try to go to court to either block the rules or criminally prosecute users, entrepreneurs or state workers.

“He said nothing to show what direction he’s heading or where he would like to end up,” Inslee said.

Nor did Inslee and Ferguson apparently ask Holder, their fellow Democrat, for such clarity. “The attorney general did not offer any dispositive comment, nor did we ask for any,” said Inslee, who repeated the word “dispositive” several times in answering questions from reporters on the conference call.

Inslee did say that nothing he heard dissuaded him from his support for moving forward with rulemaking.

Voter-approved Initiative 502 gave the liquor board until Dec. 1 to write the rules that will govern licensing. The board has said it expects to take all the time allotted, but it’s working on the rules and is looking into hiring new staff and a consultant. Some lawmakers say the board is moving too fast.

But Inslee seems to want an aggressive schedule. “We did relay to the attorney general we need to have our rules done by early summer with licenses hopefully issued by August,” he said.

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