Several states are reassessing medical marijuana laws after stern warnings from the federal government that everyone from licensed growers to regulators could be subjected to prosecution, reports the Associated Press. Ominous-sounding letters from U.S. attorneys have injected the federal government back into a debate that has for years been continuing at the state level.
Warnings in Washington state led Gov. Chris Gregoire to veto a proposal that would have created licensed marijuana dispensaries. Gregoire, chair of the National Governors Association, wants to work with other states to push for changes to federal marijuana laws to resolve the legal disputes caused by what she described as prosecutors reinterpreting their own policies. “The landscape is changing out there. They are suggesting they are not going to stand down,” Gregoire said. The Department of Justice said two years ago it would be an inefficient use of federal funds to target people who are in clear compliance with state law. U.S. attorneys have said in their recent memos that they would consider civil or criminal penalties for those who run large-scale operations — even if they are acceptable under state law.