Even though Jay Inslee, the Democrat running for governor in Washington State, just got Obama's endorsement and opposes Initiative 502 on the fall ballot to legalize marijuana, he thinks the White House needs to keep its mouth shut about the initiative. "Jay doesn't think the Administration should officially oppose the measure," says Inslee spokeswoman Jamie Smith by email today. "It will make it harder for us to work with the feds on both medical marijuana and the implementation of this initiative if it passes."
That's the opposite of what the Obama Administration heard last week, when nine former DEA chiefs sent a letter asking Attorney General Eric Holder to oppose legalization in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. "To continue to remain silent conveys to the American public and the global community a tacit acceptance of these dangerous initiatives," the retired DEA heads said.
Backing off would reverse White House's track record on marijuana initiatives: The Obama Administration campaigned against a similar legalization initiative in California in 2010, much like the George W. Bush Administration had done in Nevada. But replicating those effort this year in Washington, Smith says, "could complicate efforts to reduce the law enforcement resources spent on marijuana that Jay thinks could be more effectively used on other priorities."