Moving Forward With Marijuana In Washington - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Moving Forward With Marijuana In Washington

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KENNEWICK, Wash.- Marijuana is already legal in the state of Washington, but thanks to a recent announcement from the federal government our state can confidently move forward with plans to license marijuana stores.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government would not try to stop recreational marijuana sales in states that have passed legislation. Until now Washington has cautiously moved slowly with licensing marijuana retail stores, but this announcement gives room to push forward.

"There's now a pathway forward for us to move forward on upholding the will of the voters in terms of legalizing marijuana," explained Attorney General Bob Ferguson. "So there's a lot of work to be done to make sure we do that in a responsible way with a tightly regulated system."

Applications for marijuana retail licenses will be accepted as early as November and the licenses could be issued as soon as early 2014.

"We've heard from several counties that they've enacted moratoriums on a local level," said Mikhail Carpenter from WA State Liquor Control Board. "I-502 did not give them the authority to opt out."

Cities locally like Pasco may enact moratoriums to prevent stores from popping up here. Legally the state can still license a citizen and the retailer would have the option of pursuing legal action against the city where they want to open a store.