By Caleb Hutton
Marijuana might be legal to possess under state law starting Dec. 6, but federal authorities want to remind you nothing has changed under federal law.
Here’s the verbatim statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, sent out minutes ago.
The Department of Justice is reviewing the legalization initiatives recently passed in Colorado and Washington State. The Department’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged. Neither States nor the Executive branch can nullify a statute passed by Congress. In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance. Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on December 6th in Washington State, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Members of the public are also advised to remember that it remains against federal law to bring any amount of marijuana onto federal property, including all federal buildings, national parks and forests, military installations, and courthouses.
Exactly how the feds plan to enforce the letter of the law remains to be seen. Selling marijuana will still be illegal in Washington on Dec. 6, a month after voters passed Initiative 502. The state liquor control board has a year to build a marijuana industry from scratch.
See also, this Herald story by John Stark.