Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Pressure Mounts On Feds To Intervene In Washington, Colorado Pot Laws

Petr Brož

OLYMPIA, Wash. – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill Wednesday. He will likely get questions about Washington and Colorado’s new marijuana laws. Pressure is mounting on the Obama administration to block the pot legalization measures.

The new push for federal invention comes from a United Nations-based drug agency and nine former DEA chiefs. They say Washington and Colorado's new recreational pot laws violate international treaties.

In a letter to members of Congress, the former top drug enforcement officers make the case that marijuana is addictive and not a “useful medicine.” For his part, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson just wants clear guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice.

“If they choose to say you can’t go forward that gives me something to respond to, right. As a lawyer I can do that. If they allow us to go forward, all the better. But I’m glad that it sounds like they will give some indication of next steps coming soon.”

Ferguson expects to hear something “relatively soon” from Attorney General Holder. That’s based on comments Holder made in a recent meeting attended by top Washington Attorney General officials.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says he hopes the Obama administration allows the “will of the voters” to proceed.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."