A customer smiles as he completes his purchase during the first day of recreational marijuana sales in Thurston County at 420 Carpenter east of Lacey on July 11, 2014. Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he is prepared to “defend the will of Washington voters,” amid talk of “greater enforcement” of federal marijuana law nationwide at Thursday’s White House news briefing. Tony Overman Staff file, 2014
A customer smiles as he completes his purchase during the first day of recreational marijuana sales in Thurston County at 420 Carpenter east of Lacey on July 11, 2014. Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he is prepared to “defend the will of Washington voters,” amid talk of “greater enforcement” of federal marijuana law nationwide at Thursday’s White House news briefing. Tony Overman Staff file, 2014

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State attorney general vows to defend Washington’s recreational pot laws

February 23, 2017 5:05 PM

Marijuana users and sellers nationwide might experience “greater enforcement” of federal drug laws from the Trump administration, according to comments Thursday from White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

But Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he is prepared to “defend the will of Washington voters.”

“My office will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that the federal government does not undermine Washington’s successful, unified system for regulating recreational and medical marijuana,” Ferguson said in an emailed statement Thursday afternoon.

Ferguson, along with Gov. Jay Inslee, sent a letter last week to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking to meet with him to talk about the Department of Justice’s position on state marijuana laws.

“Our state’s efforts to regulate the sale of marijuana are succeeding,” according to the letter. “A few years ago, the illegal trafficking of marijuana lined the pockets of criminals everywhere. Now, in our state, illegal trafficking activity is being displaced by a closely regulated marijuana industry that pays hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.”

Peter Lavallee, spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office, said Ferguson has not yet received a reply from Sessions.

In 2012, voters in Washington and Colorado approved regulating and taxing marijuana. Since then, Alaska, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, California and the District of Columbia have adopted laws for recreational marijuana use.

Brian Smith, spokesman for the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board, said Thursday: “We will continue to carry out state law, just as we have from the beginning.”

Kate Martin: 253-597-8542, @KateReports

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