The U.S. Justice Department has agreed to give Washington state access to an FBI database so it can run background checks on people who apply to open legal marijuana businesses.
Colorado has the same access to the database to run its own checks.
Washington state put in a request to use the database last April, but without explanation the DOJ did not respond until now.
The White House has said it wants to ensure revenue from the legalization of marijuana doesn't fall into the hand of organized crime. Simultaneously the government doesn’t want to help states violate the federal law.
“It’s an issue of consistency,” said Alison Holcomb, a Seattle lawyer who drafted Washington’s marijuana law. “The DOJ set forth a specific set of goals it expected Washington to meet, and the refusal to perform nationwide background checks appeared to be an obstacle to allowing the state to meet those goals.”
Washington access to the database, the DOJ says, was approved “to ensure a consistent national approach,” the agency told The Associate Press in a statement.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Jay Inslee (D), Jaime Smith, called said the decision was “certainly helpful in our efforts to move forward and establish a strong regulatory framework.”