Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement after the Department of Justice (DOJ) did not challenge state law and updated its federal enforcement policy to not target Washington State voters complying with state law:

“I was pleased to see the DOJ’s guidance to U.S. Attorneys on marijuana laws, ensuring that criminal activity remains a priority and residents who are abiding by Washington law will not be targeted.  The State’s voters spoke loud and clear last November when they passed I-502, and the DOJ not challenging state marijuana laws is a positive step to respect the will of the voters.

“There are still steps that need to be taken to protect individuals and a burgeoning business market.  Our state has invested significant resources, including money and hours of state employees’ time, to establish regulatory systems allowing for successful implementation of I-502, and yet businesses looking to invest in this industry and banks seeking new clients cannot do so without fear of prosecution or other penalties from the federal government.  Similar concerns weigh on individuals who, while fully complying with state statutes, can still face criminal charges, despite the DOJ’s guidance to not target these individuals.  

“Since I-502 passed, I have spoken with many federal officials and sent numerous letters urging the DOJ to respect the will of Washington State voters.  I have cosponsored bipartisan legislation offered by Representative Dana Rohrabacher that would let state’s marijuana laws preempt federal law, and legally protect all Washington State citizens following state law.  I have also supported legislation offered by Rep. Denny Heck of Washington, which would protect banks doing business with the legal Washington State marijuana industry from Federal statutes.  I will continue to work with the DOJ to get all necessary assurances for the people of Washington State.”