Federal Pivot On Marijuana Sows Uncertainty

By Tad Sooter
Kitsap Sun, Bremerton, Wash.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Marijuana shop owner Ayla Savage says that until she sees federal agents raiding shops, she isn’t going to worry about Jeff Sessions announcement that the federal government may no longer take a hands-off approach to enforcement in states that have legalized marijuana.

KINGSTON

Christy Stanley has plenty to worry about at her legal marijuana store in Kingston.

Bruising tax rates, steep banking fees and state regulations are just a few of the challenges the Green Tiki Cannabis owner contends with daily.

One development Stanley wasn’t losing sleep over this week was an announcement from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the federal government may no longer take a hands-off approach to enforcement in states that have legalized marijuana. She dismissed the sudden policy pivot as “smoke and mirrors” by the Trump administration.

“I have a lot of concerns,” Stanley said Friday. “Jeff Sessions isn’t one of them.”

Like other marijuana business owners interviewed, Stanley believes it is unlikely the Department of Justice will attempt to shut down pot stores in Washington, where marijuana legalization enjoyed strong support and the industry has paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.

“They’d be cutting off their own nose to spite their face,” she said.

Ayla Savage, who owns the Fillabong marijuana stores in Bremerton and Silverdale, said there has always been risk of a crackdown.

“I mean, it’s federally illegal,” she said. “I’ve known that at any point in time they could do anything they really wanted.”

But until she sees federal agents raiding shops, Savage isn’t going to worry. She’s been reassuring rattled customers, especially medical marijuana patients, who fear they could lose access to cannabis products.

If anything, Savage sees the legalization movement gaining momentum nationwide. California opened legal marijuana sales Monday.

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