Among other challenges of the new Washington state marijuana polices, and there are many, is the challenge of keeping the legal weed inside the borders of Washington. This endeavor, if done successfully, could keep the federal government from suing the state in an effort to usurp what the voters want—regulated and “free” marijuana.
According to the Associated Press, Washington Governor Jay Inslee insists it is possible, though checkpoints and fences don’t seem to be options on the table.
“I am going to be personally committed to have a well regulated, well disciplined, well tracked, well inventory-controlled, well law-enforcement-coordinated approach,” Inslee says. He is expected to deliver additional details about his plan to U.S. Attorney Eric Holder next week.
Because marijuana is still against federal law, and the federal government won’t be backing down without a fight (if at all), both Washington and Colorado are taking every step possible to minimize the risk of being sued—just one option in the pocket of the feds.
One thing that could keep the pot inside Washington borders is controlling the supply. If state-licensed growers make too much of the green stuff, the incentive will be there to put it onto the black market and take it out of state. To this end, the state is analyzing just how much marijuana Washingtonians want.
The state’s Liquor Control Board has a “comprehensive survey” in the works to try and get an estimate on who will be smoking and how much. Then, through tightly controlled supply and even possibly bar codes and other tracking mechanisms, they hope they can keep the weed inside the borders.
Some say it’s an exercise in futility, that there is no way to keep the marijuana behind state lines. Tom Gorman of the Rocky Mountain high Intensity Drug-Trafficking Area says that even in Colorado, where the medical marijuana is the most tightly regulated system in operation, medical pot still makes it to other states.
However, some say dispensaries and business owners may provide the added control needed. They say it’s a cut-throat business and that growers and dispensary operators may just turn their competition in if they see any violations going on.
The federal government has not yet sued any state in regards to medical marijuana, but the recreational marijuana laws now being instated in Washington and Colorado may be the motivation they need. Here’s hoping Governor Insole’s commitment to control convinces A.G. Holder that a hands-off policy is best.
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