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State treasurer asks feds for clarity on pot legalization

State wants to know federal priorities as it preps for further legal pot rollout.

Massachusetts' top pot regulator wants to know what to expect in terms of federal Flickr

As Massachusetts continues its legal pot rollout, itstop marijuana regulator wants answers from the Trump Administration after it hinted at a federal crackdown on recreational marijuana.

In a March 7letter to Attorney General Jeff Session, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg asked point blank whether the new administration would continue the do-nothing policies of the former administration when it comes to recreational and medicinal marijuana — both are still illegal under federal law.

Goldberg said the state anticipates a "significant investment in staff, equipment, and technology" to establish stringent regulatory oversight of the recreational marijuana industry,

"Fiscal responsibility requires predictability, and I want to ensure that we fully understand the [Department of Justice]'s intentions," Goldberg wrote in the letter. "In recent weeks, comments from the Trump Administration suggest that the DOJ may be considering a change. I would greatly appreciate your prompt response to clarify whether this is true—and if so, what changes we should prepare for before we commitsignificant public resources to implementing Massachusetts' recreational marijuana laws."


President Donald Trump does not oppose medical marijuana, but at a Feb. 24 news conference, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said medical marijuana is "very different than recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice will be further looking into."

"I do believe you'll see greater enforcement of it," Spicer said, without elaborating.

It had been the policy of former President Barack Obama's administration not to meddle with state's efforts to legalize recreational pot, allowing markets in Washington and Denver to flourish.

Then Attorney General James Cole set priorities regarding marijuana enforcement, focusing on "urgent public safety threats" like financing of organized crime, violent activity, distribution to minors and illegal sales across state lines.

Massachusetts voted to legalize recreational marijuana on Nov. 8 and though possession and home growing became legal in December, sale of the intoxicating plant and byproducts for recreational use is prohibited until next year after a regulatory commission is established.

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