SEATTLE - Senators from eight states, including Washington, that have legalized the recreational or medicinal use of marijuana are asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to uphold the Department of Justice's existing enforcement policy toward states with voter-approved marijuana laws.
Washington Democratic Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell were among those who signed the Thursday letter. Washington voters backed the recreational use of pot in 2011
The senators point to comments by White House spokesman Sean Spicer suggesting stepped-up enforcement of federal laws against recreational marijuana.
Sessions also reportedly expressed misgivings about legalized pot, citing health concerns and violence.
“It is essential that states that have implemented any type of practical, effective marijuana policy receive immediate assurance from the DOJ that it will respect the ability of states to enforce thoughtful, sensible drug policies in ways that do not threaten the public’s health and safety,” the senators wrote in the letter. “This ensures that state infrastructure, including tax revenue, small businesses, and jobs, can be protected; DOJ resources can be used most effectively; and most importantly, that marijuana can be properly regulated to improve public health and safety.”
Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana.
The Obama administration opted not intervene in state marijuana laws as long as states had systems to control the drug's cultivation and sale.
Senators from Oregon, Massachusetts, Nevada, Hawaii, Colorado, New Jersey and Alaska also signed the letter.