PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Monday, March 11, 2013

‘Potrepreneurs’ Wait For Federal Decision On Marijuana

Married couple Kimberly Bliss, left, and Kim Ridgway, right, pose for a photo at their home in Lacey, Wash, in February 2013. On the table in front of them is medical marijuana and a water pipe that Ridgway uses to treat arthritis and severe anxiety. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

Married couple Kimberly Bliss, left, and Kim Ridgway, right, pose for a photo at their home in Lacey, Wash, in February 2013. On the table in front of them is medical marijuana and a water pipe that Ridgway uses to treat arthritis and severe anxiety. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

Washington state residents Kim Ridgway and Kimberly Bliss are planning to open a store selling marijuana, now that voters in that state have legalized the possession of up to one ounce for adults over 21.

But the married couple is afraid that any day now the federal government may decide to prosecute sellers of marijuana, because it remains illegal under federal law.

“As a person who is trying to start a business, I’m really concerned.”

– Kim Ridgway

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to say this week whether the Department of Justice plans to prosecute growers and sellers in states where pot is legal.

“As a person who is trying to start a business, I’m really concerned. A lot of what I’m doing is waiting to find out what his decision is before I go much further and want to invest too much more money or time into this,” Ridgway told Here & Now’s Robin Young.

State officials in Washington – and Colorado – are also waiting to hear what the federal government has to say, as they try to write new rules for growers and sellers of marijuana.

Ridgway is anxious to find out what the state regulations will be, including safety and liability rules.

Kimberly Bliss, left, and her wife Kim Ridgway, right, look at recipes for marijuana "edibles" as they sit at their dining room table in February 2013. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

Kimberly Bliss, left, and her wife Kim Ridgway, right, look at recipes for marijuana “edibles” as they sit at their dining room table in February 2013. (Ted S. Warren/AP)

“Somebody has to be the first one to get out there and want to do it,” said Ridgway, who uses medical marijuana to treat arthritis and anxiety. “I’ve chosen to be proactive with this – be one of the first to pioneer this. I’m sure that there’s going to be some really hard times ahead with the federal government and everybody involved.”

A United Nations-based drug agency has said the U.S. would be violating international treatises if the state laws are allowed to stand.

Former drug agency officials have asked the Obama administration to sue the states that have legalized recreational marijuana.

That’s the course of action that Seattle Times columnist Jonathan Martin predicts the federal government will actually take.

“The question folks like Kim are looking for is, is there going to be a clear bright line ‘We allow this’ or ‘We’re not going to allow this,’ or is there going to be sort of a fuzzy line, as was placed on medical marijuana? I just don’t think that we’re going to get the Justice Department saying ‘This is OK, this is not OK.”

Do you expect the federal government to crack down on pot growers/sellers in states where it’s legal? Tell us on Facebook.

Guests:

  • Kim Ridgway, marijuana entrepreneur.
  • Jonathan Martin, editorial writer and columnist for The Seattle Times. He tweets @jmartin206.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Spotlight

Peter O’Dowd follows the route of Abraham Lincoln's funeral train 150 years ago, to look at modern-day race relations and Lincoln's legacy.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

May 21 6 Comments

YouTube Sensation Publishes Her First Cookbook

Maangchi's career was born when her son suggested she start making videos of herself cooking Korean dishes.

May 21 17 Comments

UC’s Napolitano Speaks Out On High Cost Of Public Ed, Anti-Semitism On Campus

Janet Napolitano talks about a plan to freeze in-state tuition, and campus protests against Israel's occupation of the West Bank.

May 20 Comment

‘Finding The Good’ Through Obituary Writing

Journalist Heather Lende has been writing obituaries in the small town of Haines, Alaska, for 20 years.

May 20 3 Comments

Pandas’ Bamboo Diet May Endanger Them

New research examining the genetics of panda waste shows they would be better suited to eat meat than plants.