AP Exclusive: FBI balks at pot background checks

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SEATTLE (AP) — The FBI is refusing to run nationwide background checks on people applying to run legal marijuana businesses in Washington state, even though it has conducted similar checks in Colorado.

The bureau's refusal raises the possibility that people with troublesome criminal histories could wind up with pot licenses, undermining the Justice Department's own priorities in ensuring that states keep a tight rein on the nascent industry.

In the meantime, Washington is conducting in-state background checks on those hoping to grow, process or sell legal marijuana, and has been asking the FBI for nearly a year to conduct the checks.

The DOJ declined to explain why it isn't conducting the checks in Washington when it has in Colorado. It said it's reviewing its background check policies and hopes to have answers soon.

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