Last week, several medical marijuana storefronts in Washington State, which voted to legalize recreational marijuana last year, were raided by the Drug Enforcement Agency, according to the Wall Street Journal. While a person familiar with the raids noted that they stemmed from 2011 concerns about illicit activity and money laundering, some state officials are worried about the future of the marijuana market since it is still illegal at the federal level, and have asked the Justice Department for clarification:
“We would welcome clarity from the federal government on how they expect to address Washington state’s emerging recreational system,” said Brian Smith, a spokesman for the Washington State Liquor Control Board, which has been charged with regulating legal pot. “With a lack of clarity, you’re always operating in an area of risk.”
The Justice Department has been fairly tight-lipped on its future plans for Washington State and Colorado, telling the Wall Street Journal that the “department is continuing to review the legalization initiatives passed in Washington and Colorado.”
This news isn’t helpful for entrepreneurs who either have launched or plan to launch recreational marijuana facilities. Just another way the federal government is creating uncertainty for small business owners.
(Correction: This post originally stated incorrectly that recreational marijuana stores were raided. In fact, medical marijuana stores were raided, which rattled recreational merchants-to-be)