Criminal Justice

As Pot Backers in Washington Celebrate Legalization in Smoky Haze, Seattle US Attorney Has a Warning


Pot smokers in Seattle celebrated a new law legalizing recreational possession of the drug on Thursday with an early morning gathering under the Space Needle.

According to Reuters, the celebration took place amid a “haze of pot smoke.” But the Department of Justice doesn’t share in the enthusiasm, the Washington Post reports.

On Wednesday evening, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Seattle issued this statement: “Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on Dec. 6 in Washington state, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. … Neither states nor the executive branch can nullify a statute passed by Congress.”

The Seattle celebration ignored a continued state ban on pot smoking in public. “No police were visible,” Reuters says, “as the aroma of cannabis wafted through the air and recorded Bob Marley music blared from loudspeakers.”

Voters in Washington and Colorado passed measures in November legalizing recreational marijuana. The Colorado measure takes effect in coming weeks, making Washington the first state to legalize recreational pot.

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