After a year of requests, the U.S. Justice Department says it is giving Washington state access to an FBI database so it can conduct nationwide background checks on people who apply to run legal marijuana businesses.
In a statement provided to The Associated Press, the department said Thursday that allowing the checks is consistent with its priorities in letting legal marijuana experiments in Washington and Colorado move forward -- including keeping people with troublesome criminal histories out of the industry.
Washington state officials first asked last April for permission to run the checks.
The federal agency declined without explanation, even though it had allowed similar checks on medical marijuana licensees in Colorado. Washington's Liquor Control Board last month began issuing licenses to pot sellers without the nationwide background checks.