The Obama administration will not sue to block Washington and Colorado from legalizing recreational marijuana.
The news -- which comes as welcome relief to state regulators after months of waiting -- came in a phone call from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to Washington Governor Jay Inslee and his counterpart in Colorado.
The basic message: you can implement legal pot, but we’ll be watching and we still reserve the right to sue if there are problems.
At a hastily called news conference, Inslee called it the “trust but verify” approach to letting the states continue on in their legalization experiment. “What I’m hearing from the federal government is that they believe there’s a reason to trust the states of Colorado and Washington," Inslee said. "That we have a real disciplined, well regulated, financed system of enforcing these laws."
"We’ve shown them reason to trust, be we need to show it on the ground, we need to show it in the real world.”
The Department of Justice says its law enforcement priorities still remain the same: cracking down on the sale of pot to minors, the leakage of legal marijuana to other states and preventing cartels and gangs from profiting.
On the Web:
Marijuana enforcement policy update - US Department of Justice
Gov. Inslee's full response - Office if the Governor