Now, he said, ‘‘I can’t see the Justice Department doing anything other than enforce the law. There’s no other out.’’
Brian Smith of the Washington State Liquor Control Board, which will implement the new law, said officials are waiting anxiously to find out what federal law enforcement authorities plan to do. ‘‘They have been silent,’’ Smith said.
Both states will have about a year to come up with rules for their legal pot systems.
In Mexico, which produces much of the pot that gets into the U.S. and where cartels and the government are embroiled in a yearslong deadly battle, the man in charge of Enrique Pena Nieto’s presidential transition said the administration opposed legalization.
‘‘These important modifications change somewhat the rules of the games in the relationship with the United States,’’ Luis Videgaray told Radio Formula.
A former high-ranking official in the country’s internal intelligence service who has studied the potential effects of legalization said he was optimistic that the measures would damage the cartels, possibly cutting profits from $6 billion to $4.6 billion.
Alejandro Hope, now an analyst at the think tank Mexican Competitiveness Institute, said among the complicating factors could be whether a strong U.S. crackdown on legal pot could negate all but the smallest effects on the cartels.
In Seattle, John Davis, a medical marijuana provider, called passage of the state’s measure ‘‘a significant movement in the right direction.’’ But he said he expected some confrontation with federal authorities.
‘‘This law does not prevent conflicts,’’ he said, adding that its passage ‘‘will highlight the necessity to find some kind of resolution between state and federal laws.’’
Associated Press writers Nicholas K. Geranios in Seattle, Pete Yost and Alicia Caldwell in Washington, and Michael Weissenstein in Mexico City contributed to this report.
Find Kristen Wyatt at http://www.twitter.com/APkristenwyatt .