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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Washington will fight Sessions, Trump over legal pot, Inslee says

OLYMPIA -- Gov. Jay Inslee tells reporters Washington is ready to defend its system of legal marijuana and is confident in its position opposing President Trump’s restrictions on immigration during a press conference on Feb. 9, 2017. (Jim Camden / The Spokesman-Review)

OLYMPIA – The next fight between Washington state and the Trump administration may be over legal marijuana.

With newly sworn in U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on record as a strong opponent of legalizing marijuana, Gov. Jay Inslee said Thursday the state will try to persuade the federal government that states should still be allowed to make that decision.

Washington will present information to the administration and Congress about its experience after voters passed an initiative to allow adults to grow, sell and use recreational marijuana, Inslee said. There has been no major increase in criminal activity or ill health effects reported, he said, and the sales are generating tax revenue for the state.

“Of the five or six fights they want to pick today, or any day, this is not the one they want to have,” Inslee said. “They would be on the wrong side of history.”

The governor’s comments came during a news conference where he said state officials “are fully confident in our position” on their current fight with the Trump administration over another policy, the executive order barring some travelers and immigrants from seven mostly Muslim states.

Washington has been joined by 18 other states, some civil rights groups and more than a dozen tech companies in its challenge to the executive order.

The 9th U.S. Court of Appeals denied the Trump administration’s request to cancel an order by U.S. District Court Judge James Robart in Seattle that put those restrictions on hold.

Inslee also took a shot at President Donald Trump, who referred to Robart as a “so-called judge” after his executive order was halted. Trump criticized the 3-0 appeals court ruling, a day after describing the hearing as “disgraceful” and claiming that even a bad high school student would support his policies.

The dispute is likely to be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.