Oregon and Washington politicians push back against federal pot enforcement
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon congressman who is a chief backer of legalized marijuana is urging a fight against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session's plan to open the gates to federal enforcement of laws against marijuana.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat who co-sponsored an amendment that prevents the Justice Department from interfering with states' medical marijuana programs, called the move outrageous.
He said anyone who cares about this issue should mobilize and push back strongly.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said rolling back federal marijuana policy, which has been largely non-interventionist, will disrupt the state's economy.
She said over 19,000 jobs have been created by the marijuana market in Oregon, which was the first state to decriminalize personal possession in 1973, legalized medical marijuana in 1998, and recreational use in 2014.
Brown joined local law enforcment officials in Portland on Thursday to talk about the change in stance, and how they plan to move forward.
Knute Buehler, the Republican Representative for Bend and governor hopeful, also responded by saying he would "defend Oregon's interests and honor voter intent."
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is also criticizing Session's move, saying it would be a mistake. He says the decision also disregards Washington voters who approved the legalization of recreational pot in 2012.
Inslee says Washington will vigorously defend the state's laws against federal infringement.
Last year, Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson wrote to Sessions urging him to respect Washington state's marijuana laws.
Washington state Senate Majority Leader Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, said Washington has come to rely on the money from marijuana taxes.