Obama Administration Threatens Washington State in Battle against Legal Marijuana

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
The Obama administration has joined the political debate in Washington state over the legalization of medical marijuana dispensaries, with federal prosecutors telling the governor a proposed new law could result in residents losing their property and state employees being prosecuted.
U.S. Attorneys Jenny Durkan and Michael Ormsby warned in a letter to Governor Christine Gregoire that landlords who rent to dispensaries could be forced to forfeit their properties, even if the state legalizes the operation of such businesses. In addition, Durkan and Ormsby wrote that “state employees who conducted activities mandated by the Washington legislative proposals would not be immune from liability under the Controlled Substances Act.”
Gregoire has indicated she will not sign the bill because of the federal warning.
The action by the U.S. Department of Justice, along with other tough stances it has taken, represent a remarkable turnabout by President Barack Obama, who promised after taking office to stop going after medical marijuana businesses, as President George W. Bush had done.
In Northern California, the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana was told by the IRS that it cannot deduct any of its business expenses from its taxes—resulting in the dispensary owing millions of dollars to the federal government. Also, the city of Oakland planned to develop large, indoor medical marijuana farms until federal law enforcement officials told the city council that Washington disapproved of the idea.
-Noel Brinkerhoff


Riverman 10 years ago
aaron you are wrong. the two u.s. attorneys are the federal government's representatives in washington state. if obama isn't taking an interest in this, then at a minimum he's ignoring his campaign promises. i am a lifelong democrat, and the democratic party makes me want to puke these days. you really have to ask -- why, exactly, did we vote for obama out here in washington state? we've gotten more wars, more debt, and more useless bureacrats harassing people for doing the one thing that might make all of this marginally tolerable -- smoking pot. obama sucks. at least with republicans you know what you're getting. the real travesty is empress gregoire. if it's about giving away millions to the indian gambling mafia in exchange for campaign cash, she's about as liberal as they come. but if it's about actually standing up for the rights of the citizens of the state of which she is supposedly governor, she's sounds more like sheriff buford t. justice. when did democrats become so useless and spineless? if the democratic party has any sense they'll dump gregoire. most folks i know would be more likely to vote for my dog for governor.
Aaron 10 years ago
"the obama administration", in this case, is two us attorneys in wa state, not barack obama. big difference. besides, this has been news for the better part of a week here in wa. the governor is to sign by tomorrow. might i suggest publishing headlines before they're last week's news?
pfroehlich2004 10 years ago
sure. let's see them march some state employees out of their offices in handcuffs. that'll make for great public relations in an election year. the feds know damn well how that would play with voters and that's exactly why they haven't tried to pull s*** like this in california, arizona, new mexico, or any other states with regulated medical marijuana dispensaries. if gregoire actually believes these threats, she's a fool. if she doesn't, she's simply a traitor to her state.
Granny Green 10 years ago
we are not surprised by the doublespeak... a politician who'll say what the people want to hear just to get elected ... then turn around and slap you right in the face!! if anyone thought obama was any different ... they are easily fooled! people must stand up for our personal freedoms that are slipping away each and every day!! its time for a "new" declaration of independence... medicalmarijuana.com
flutie 10 years ago
1) the doj clearly stated it will not prosecute medical marijuana patients and suppliers who are in compliance with state medical marijuana laws. 2) despite the doj's promise, according to the letter of the federal law, all 15 states which have instituted medical marijuana are in violation of the csa. however, courts have ruled that states are under no obligation to enforce federal law. why are washington's u.s. attorneys durkan and ormsby revisiting an issue which has been well settled in all 15 states with medical marijuana laws? in fact, the federal government does not have the resources to arrest and prosecute all violators of the csa. it can only do so with the help of the states. why are states obliging in their own prosecution (and persecution) if they feel it is wrong? moreover, according to the csa, medical marijuana is no more legal than recreational marijuana. therefore, states are equally justified in passing recreation marijuana laws as they are in passing medical marijuana laws. attorneys durkan and ormsby platform is based on fear and lacks hope, guidance and vision. if we remain oppressed by the federal government, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

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