Marijuana, Heroin, Seattle discussed on Michael Medved
Point five FM in the greater east side. Brian Moran is the new US attorney for the western district of Washington. He's based here in Seattle. And he's caused a lot of waves within progressive circles for saying heroin injection sites are categorically illegal, and you're probably shouldn't do them in Seattle. U? S attorney Brian Moran joins me now, sir. Thank you so much for coming on, really. Appreciate it. My pleasure. Jason happy to be here. Have you been shocked by some of the responses to your earlier interviews on this topic? You know, I guess what? I I wouldn't say shocked. I've been kind of overwhelmed with citizens reaching out to me. I didn't see that coming in. It's it's kind of affirming, you know. Obviously, I make my decision based on the lawn not on any particular constituency in Seattle outside of Seattle. But I've I've had a number of folks reach out to me and thank me for for taking a position. Well, what's interesting is nothing. You said is is controversial at all. I don't see. So under the law. You know? That's I mean, there are lots of studies. There are lots of people are Jamie to study the issue, and I you know, I need to be abundantly clear the US attorney and the studying that I do relate to the the code of the United States code and that United States code is pretty clear that maintaining an injection else. Or however, you want to term it safe injection house consumption site, it's it's patently illegal under federal law. So that's that's my resource. That's where I go to read and research these things, and that's what the US attorney's supposed to do perspective. Obviously, there are some city leaders who say essentially, they're going to move forward. Anyway. And if you have to get involved, you'll get involved in they'll fight that. I'm presuming they expect that they'll get maybe an activist court that might say this is a new innovative way to treat heroin addiction. And they'll allow it. I mean, realistically. Is that even a viable option for courts if they're legitimately looking at the law. You know, look the courts are banned by the same law that I am you know, and. I don't know whether the city leaders will move forward or not I hope they take ause. I hope they take my position seriously and think it through you know, but if they do pursue it. And we bring some sort of action, and I'm not gonna commit to what that action might look like at this time. They're never host of actions. Look, I mean at some point some district court judge may have to look at this. And he or she will look at the same law that I'm looking at and I wanna be clear, we're all trying to find a solution to the horrors of sixty four thousand of our fellow citizens dying every year this country because of methamphetamine opioid overdose of any type, but you know, that law doesn't doesn't allow an exception for good intentions, and it doesn't allow an exception for city doing it as opposed to charitable organization. So. I have seen not just cities. I've seen counties. I've seen individuals try to push the envelope. But I'm pretty confident in what the law says what the law means and pretty confident how a court is going to say, I believe it was K O W that indicated you had a conversation with the Seattle city. Attorney Pete Holmes on this was this a proactive conversation. Did you bring this up? How exactly the topic of heroin injection sites? Even come up. I have to think that, but I believe so first of all Pete Holmes reached out to me as did many members of the law enforcement communities that attorneys offices in my first few weeks in office. I did the same. I reached out to a number of law enforcement officials, but he asked me with absolutely happening with you. He came in. He had a list of issues that he wanted to talk about any specifically asked me about safe injection sites. And I told him exactly how I viewed it. How have you long more importantly, and what I was prepared to do? I suggested to him. He just not go there. I did tell him. I understand you're a lawyer and you have clients I've been the geez office. I I was a lawyer I had and ultimately the clients get to make those calls, you know, the lawyer not a potted plant necessarily, but gives you know, his or her best advice and sometimes clients take it sometimes they don't just suggested to him that p communicate his clients that this was a no go for. Me. Well, what's interesting about? This is one of his clients is a mayor who used to be in your position. What do you make of that? Is this one of those things where it's just now it's political versus legal. You know? I don't honestly honestly don't know where the mayor comes down on this issue. I mean, she may be in favor of it. She may not be. I haven't talked to her about it. I've I've met with her talked about a number of other issues. This was not one of them. So all those questions for her to answer. You know, I I will say my experience dealing with the mayor. She's head excellent Moyer. She knows the law, and I'll leave it at that. Topic that I've discussed with her. You know? I it's interesting because you you have a formula's attorney who has a lawyer so. Turney general's office and the Governor Chris Gregoire and she asked me for legal advice. It was always an interesting position. When you're a lawyer taking legal advice between Mr Holmes, and the mayor joining me, Brian Moran is on the line. He's the new US attorney for the western district of Washington state. We're talking about heroin injection sites. And I'm curious you indicated that you're not going to say exactly what you would do what action would be taken by the federal government against heroin injection sites. But are you taking the position that you won't sit back and not do anything. I mean, if say is is stood up. It comes to my attention, which I have to believe it would it's not like you can run these things secretly the neighborhood has got to know about it. You know action will be swift. And sure and decisive I haven't mold over the range of those options, they range from criminal penalties are available theoretically to civil injunctions and forefeiture. So I'm not going to commit now to what my range of options would be certainly would take into account. I think US attorney would any prosecutor would that the intentions motivations behind it? But you know, if if some other enterprise stand up a drug house, it was totally related to my my my reaction to that might be different. So all tools available to me are on the table. But I would always take into account the motivations the intent as you would in any case how much of your conversation on this is being driven by guidance coming from the Trump administration, obviously last year, we've seen some significant word coming from the White House coming from the -partment of Justice saying that this is not okay, they're going after it in Philadelphia. Is this something that's an active conversation between you and DC. Or is this just a general because we're talking about here? You're now talking about it. Yeah. No. I would I would say that. It hasn't been a topic of conversation generally ninety three US attorneys around the country, and you know, he or she is left pretty much a broad range of discretion authority every district's different look, I mean state of Washington user, western district is different than Oklahoma and Oklahoma's different than we Anna Louisiana's different than Vermont. So we have a wide range of discussion. I am aware of the eastern district of Pennsylvania the action they took to enjoin it civilly. Join he could declare Tori judgment action. But no, this is not this is the topic of conversation at least now with main department of Justice. So I want to switch gears slightly. Although I think it's related you're saying you're going to go after heroin injection sites, which is a position that I one hundred percent support. But what about marijuana? We're state that decided to legalize marijuana yet the sale and use of marijuana is federally pro. Hinted. Is there any fear that you're going to go after marijuana dispensaries or marijuana businesses? It's a really good question because it does appear that I'm taking it system positions. But so let me let me back backdrop this. Thought process marijuana legal marijuana under state law, violates the federal control substances act. It's it's I've been a prosecutor and in the process circles for most of my career that spans about thirty years. I've never seen a time or an issue where something was obviously legal under state law pantley legal under federal law. So this is this is a brave new world in terms of marijuana. The reality with marijuana is one. And and a vast majority of Washingtonians as in several other states decided they wanted to try it. Try this experiment. It I am acutely aware of that. But but I don't really operate just on public popularity. The other reality here, though, Jason is that I've got about sixty prosecutor's criminal. Prosecutors and this is a very big district twenty four twenty five thousand square miles twenty five tribes numerous military, installations and major national parks major drug trafficking. What are the reality is even if I wanted to just couldn't? So I've made the decision that the federal government's prosecution resources in this district or not well spent going after legal marijuana the voters voted for it. I accept that. What I am concerned about what I what I will be watching vigilantly, and I have been is sort of illegal. Marijuana market moving into kind of Seidel up to the legal marijuana market. And we've prosecuted a number of illegal marijuana. Significant illegal marijuana grows where they're buying up house after house dumping all sorts of toxins in on the property destroying neighborhoods, and because it sort of accepted legally, I just want to make sure the state doesn't take an eye the marijuana market. So it sounds like you're saying the main difference at least for you is the vote, right? That people had an opportunity, of course, when it comes to heroin injections sites. We were told by the courts, we don't get a say in that we wouldn't be able to vote at least the way that originally done. So that's good to hear. Because on the one hand. I'm with you with heroin injection sites. They're not safe, which is why they have people who are there supervising, but I wouldn't be with you after medical marijuana because I as a conservative I could make the conservative argument as to why it should be a states rights issue. And I guess my last question for you is would anything change if there one Seattle or can't wherever it is. And the voter said, yes, it's still would be against the law. Federally would you then look to this topic the same way, you would look. To marijuana. I don't want to commit myself one way or the other. A lot of it's not subject to the whims of votes necessarily. Look prosecutors and police are not good policy makers. We're good policy implementers. I would look to the federal law guidance from from other districts, and I don't want to comment on on facts that aren't before me. I take a hard look at it. I'm aware of the initiative, I'm aware what the supreme court said about it really didn't actor at some point. And I think this is the point I want to make is even with legal marijuana. There's you just have to draw a line somewhere. So if it's if patently illegal under the legal marijuana regime, we don't allow drive throughs and somebody stood up drive-thru..