Adults in Washington state will be able to smoke marijuana legally when it is officially decriminalized Thursday, even though the U.S. Justice Department has offered no guidance on the conflict with federal drug laws, the Washington Post reports. Prosecutors have begun dismissing hundreds of misdemeanor marijuana cases and police are being retrained to arrest drivers who are high and allow adults to light up in their homes.
State officials say the Justice Department is creating confusion by remaining silent about what steps it may take in Washington and Colorado, which passed initiatives legalizing the manufacturing, distribution, and possession of up to an ounce of marijuana. Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire met with Deputy Attorney General James Cole but came away with no answers. Several universities in the two states are maintaining the status quo, banning students from smoking or consuming marijuana on campus. The schools rely on millions of dollars in federal funding, and officials are worried that failure to obey federal marijuana laws could jeopardize the money. “There are a lot more questions than answers at this point,” said Kathy Barnard of Washington State University in Pullman. “Marijuana is still illegal under federal law and as a federally funded institution, we abide and respect that.”