Washington state vows to fight any cannabis crackdown by feds

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Washington state is ready to fight if necessary to keep its legal marijuana, Attorney General Bob Ferguson said after White House spokesman Sean Spicer hinted at a federal crackdown.

“We will resist any efforts to thwart the will of the voters in Washington,” Ferguson said, according to the Associated Press.

Spicer offered no details about what any renewed federal efforts in legal-cannabis states might entail but said he expected “greater enforcement” and drew a distinction between marijuana use for medical and recreational purposes.

Ferguson said he was disappointed in Spicer’s comments, noting that he and Gov. Jay Inslee previously prepared to defend the state’s cannabis program against any efforts by the administration of President Barack Obama to shut it down. Obama ultimately agreed to tolerate tightly regulated marijuana markets in states adopted them.

“The message hasn’t changed, but the audience is a little bit different,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson and Inslee sent a letter last week to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, laying out the state’s arguments for keeping its regulated market in place.

“Our state’s efforts to regulate the sale of marijuana are succeeding,” they wrote in the letter, according to a copy released Thursday. “A few years ago, the illegal trafficking of marijuana lined the pockets of criminals everywhere. Now, in our state, illegal trafficking activity is being displaced by a closely regulated marijuana industry that pays hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. This frees up significant law enforcement resources to protect our communities in other, more pressing ways.”