Four Months After Two States Legalized Pot, Holder Still Says He'll Respond 'Relatively Soon'



A month after voters in Colorado and Washington approved the legalization of marijuana, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department would respond "relatively soon." Now he says we can expect that response…"relatively soon." No, really:

"We're still in the process of reviewing both of the initiatives that were passed," Holder said at a morning appearance, answering a question from Colorado Attorney General John Suthers. "I would say, and I mean this, that you'll hear soon."

"We are, I think, in our last stages of that review, and are trying to make a determination as to what the policy ramifications are going to be, what our international obligations are. There are a whole variety of things that go into this determination," Holder said. "But the people in [Colorado] and Washington deserve that answer and we will have that, as I said, relatively soon."

Surely that is why no one at the Justice Department is returning my calls. Last week Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper had this to say about the eagerly awaited DOJ response:

"They're looking at how we can adjust something in the rule-making—is there something in the regulatory framework that we can accommodate the will of these voters, and can we do it in such a way that doesn't endanger or put undue pressures on our neighboring states or other states?" Hickenlooper said. "No one's got the answer on this one."

"They have an open door to discuss it and try to work through this," he added of Holder's team at the Justice Department. "There's more nuance to the law than just the black and white." One legal option, said Hickenlooper, would be to "go back to Congress and somehow change the controlled substance laws—they're open to all of that."

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee made similar comments after meeting with Holder last month.

Addendum: Whoops. Mike Riggs noted this story earlier today.