On August 29, 2013, the Department of Justice announced its priorities for marijuana-related conduct in light of the recent initiatives in the states of Colorado and Washington which legalize some possession and use of marijuana by adults. The new priorities will not preempt the new Washington law, provided the laws are implemented and enforced in a way that protects the public.
"I share the priorities announced by the Department of Justice and these will also be my priorities when making decisions about marijuana cases in San Juan County," said Prosecuting Attorney Randall K. Gaylord. "I am pleased that the policy statement recognizes the role of local police and prosecutors in helping achieving these policies." Gaylord added.
The Department of Justice policies include preventing the promotion or distribution of marijuana to minors under age 21, preventing revenue from the sale of marijuana to fund criminal enterprises or gang activities, preventing the smuggling or importation of marijuana to other states, and using marijuana as a front for trafficking in other drugs.
"These priorities recognize the need for a strong partnership between local and federal authorities," Gaylord added. "Citizens must remember, only some marijuana activities have been legalized. It remains illegal for minors to possess or consume marijuana and for adults to provide marijuana to minors. In addition, it remains illegal to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of any drug," said Gaylord.
Gaylord said a big challenge for the Washington State Liquor Control Board will be to come up with a strong and effective regulatory and enforcement system.