Legislators From States With Legalized Marijuana Push Back on Federal Crackdown
Legislators from states that have legalized marijuana are pushing back against a federal crackdown on the drug, led by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Washington state approved rules this week for the recreational sale of marijuana, the Associated Press reports. The Washington Liquor Control Board, which adopted the rules, will issue licenses for up to 334 marijuana stores across the state.
According to the new rules, a person can only hold a maximum of three licenses. Out-of-state investment in marijuana businesses is prohibited, and quality-control testing of marijuana by third-party labs is required. Other rules cover security at licensed marijuana gardens, the size of the gardens, and how many marijuana stores can open in cities. Total production will be capped at 80 metric tons of marijuana.
Other countries and states that are considering legalizing marijuana are already reviewing the new rules, the AP notes.
Last November, voters in Washington and Colorado approved measures to legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults over 21. The measures called for the states to set up systems of licensed growers, processors and sellers. Colorado approved its marijuana industry rules last month. While the rules in the two states are similar, voters in Colorado will consider whether to tax marijuana at a much lower rate, without a limit on total production, according to the article.
Both states will require child-resistant packaging, background checks for license applicants and seed-to-store tracking.
In August, the U.S. Justice Department announced it will allow Colorado and Washington to carry out their new recreational marijuana laws. The department will focus enforcement on criminal charges in specific areas, such as distribution to minors. The announcement ended almost a year of debate within the Obama Administration about how to react to the state laws. Federal law outlaws the production, possession and sale of marijuana.