Evergreen State reacts to federal pot ruling
PROSSER, Wash. — Washington State leaders are speaking out against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' move to reverse an Obama era rule that adopted a police of non-interference of state pot laws.
Governor Jay Inslee and State Attorney General Bob Ferguson are telling Washingtonians to keep calm and carry on.
Altitude Marijuana Dispensary Manager Taunya Harris told Action News that's exactly what she plans to do.
She said the fear of pot is generational and she'd like to give Sessions a tour of her shop so he can see what all the fuss is about.
"Responsible shops, responsible growers," she said. "Doing exactly what we're doing now to maintain the industry with the utmost integrity."
The governor said the voters have spoken and those in favor of recreational marijuana shouldn't be intimidated by the Trump administration.
"We are going to continue our operations in the state of Washington," he said. "And the reason is, is that this is working in the state of Washington to provide a safe, well-regulated market for marijuana."
He and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson aren't proposing any action yet.
"We just got it," he said, referring to Session's new plan. "We're just taking a look at it. I'm not going to weigh in without talking to my team and really understanding it."
Though state representative David Sawyer said he's sponsoring a bill to make sure state and local law enforcement don't crack down on state legalized businesses.
Back in Prosser, not everyone is on board with Olympia's plan.
Business owner Tom Denlea owns two businesses on the same road as Altitude.
He said pot should never have been legalized in the first place.
“I don’t think it represents the majority on the east side of the state," Denlea said. "So we got something we really didn’t want.”
The business owner said that's just how our country works.
So too, he added, is the enforcement of law.
“I’m encouraged," he said. "I think the federal government has a lot of things to focus on, and if they want to focus on prosecuting marijuana violations that's fine.”
His neighbor across the way said she understands.
“Some people feel very strongly about marijuana,” Harris sighed. “I encourage them to educate themselves. To go speak with folks who have used it both medically or medicinally and find out what sort of purpose it serves for them.”
Until then, business is booming, and Harris said it seems to be something the community will support.
“45% sales tax is quite a big number to slap on a product," she said. "And people are paying it without question.”
Harris said she's going to keep educating folks about a product she considers to be medicinal and welcomes those weary of her wares to visit and learn.
Just so long as they're 21 or older.
"Nine times out of ten," she said. "When a customer comes into our shop, they’re blown away at what they thought [it] was going to be, and how it's the complete opposite.”