Holder in Senate Testimony Today: 'Still Considering' Response to Marijuana Legalization


Senate Judiciary Committee

Attorney General Eric Holder is still not quite ready, four months after voters in Colorado and Washington approved marijuana legalization initiatives, to say how the Justice Department might respond to that historic development. Testifying this morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Holder was given an opportunity to say, for example, whether the Justice Department will try to prevent those states from allowing sales of marijuana for recreational use by arguing in court that their laws are pre-empted by the Controlled Substances Act, whether it will arrest and prosecute people who operate state-licensed marijuana stores or growing operations, whether it will target people who grow marijuana at home for their own use and to share with friends (as permitted by Colorado's law), or whether it will use the threat of civil forfeiture to shut down cannabis businesses that comply with state law. When the committee's chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), asked him about marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington, Holder said the Obama administration is "still considering" how to respond. Last week he promised a policy "relatively soon," the same phrase he used in December. Around the same time, Leahy said he plans to hold a hearing on the issue this year.

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  1. Holder’s response isn’t fast, but I bet it will be furious.

  2. Um…what is there to consider?

    The people are the masters over government. The people of CO and WA have clearly stated that despite federal restrictions concerning MJ, they no longer desire to live under said restrictions. This is the people telling the government their desires concerning governance.

    The feds have one option. Back the fuck off! They never had the authority to regulate drugs to begin with. (see 10A)

    I know. I’m delusional. But one can dream.

    1. I think they are going to try and put it off until something happens– like a stoned surgeon or a bus driver that plows into a crowd while high–so they can say the feds have to step in.

      1. Yeah, they’re caught between the pubsec unions who hate the idea of not being able to arrest / incarcerate, and their base, which is overwhelmingly for legalization of pot. They are in bad need of cover to rationalize whatever they do.

      2. No. What is happening is that if Obama’s administration says “fuck you, no legalization”, he’s doing something that even his most braindead sheep supporters can’t spin away as “the Republicans’ fault” or whatever other moronic shit they spew. Mr. Politician is rightfully seeing the danger in this for him and is avoiding it. This is a minefield for Obama and his cronies, and they know it.

  3. His finger is going to get a nasty cramp if he holds it up there in the wind much longer.

    1. Between him and the prevaricator-in-chief, it’s hard to figure which one is weather-vaning the most.

      1. and Obama is usually good at changing his mind AFTER referenda. See: NC, gay marriage vote.

  4. They are just waiting until they can set up a “sting” involving selling across a state line, then they’ll come down like a ton of bricks.

    “Marijuana legalization on a state by state basis is unworkable.”

    1. They are just waiting until they can set up a “sting” involving selling across a state line, then they’ll come down like a ton of bricks.

      Not sure how that would work as the sales have to be made in person. The law also does not say you have to be a resident of CO. So what you do once you purchase is on you.

    2. They are limiting the amount that can be sold at one time for that very reason. It will take quite a few smurfs to gather a pound when they can only buy an eighth of an ounce at a time.

  5. WDATPDIM, but does anyone know whether our fearless A.G. ever blazed teh choom?

  6. Translation: “We’re just trying to find an excuse so it looks like Obama’s supporting marijuana, but those darn Republicans just won’t let us, so we have to use the power of the federal government to go after these people”

  7. What’s really at foot and the reason the feds are playing footsie with this is they are making a crap load of money abusing the civil forfeiture/seizure law.

    Seriously, the only difference between the mafia and DOJ these days is they aren’t breaking knee caps. They are beefing up their coffers big time.

    If the media was worth it’s salt they would be investigating how much money the feds are reaping bulling everyone from landlords seizing property and bank accounts. And people can’t fight them b/c they feds have taken their money they would fight with.

    1. And people can’t fight them b/c they feds have taken their money they would fight with.

      They steal your property, then give you a public pretender whose job is to get plea bargains for the D.A.

      How can they lose?

      1. Exactly. Meanwhile the operating budget at DOJ is skyrocketing. They steal the money, prove nothing or no wrong doing, and make the big bosses happy. It’s an absolute outrage.

  8. And actually they don’t give you a public defender — they are suing the money/property so you either have more money to fight them with or they keep it. Simple as that, so really they just steal with no recourse.

    1. They do both. They take your property and hold it until you can prove it innocent of committing a crime. This leaves you indigent for the charges against you, forcing to you take a public pretender who works for the same people who are charging you.
      When the cops, D.A., judges, public pretenders, and prisons are all on the same team, you’re fucked.

  9. It seems like a medical mj shops should just invest their money in buying law firms.

  10. One thing I think we need to keep in mind is that by the time Prohibition was eventually repealed, about a dozen states had already repealed the law at the state level.

    This is a long process. A ship this big requires many clicks to about face.

  11. They’re just dragging it out as long as possible before saying “Fuck you, that’s why.” If their response was going to be good news for the majority of people now in favor of MJ legalization or the large portion of their own base that favors it they would have said so by now. There’s no way Obama and his minion are going to give up any government power, and the WoD is power.

  12. Nobody wants their name on this one. Half of this country will be elated that the drug war has ended, and the other half will be freaking out.

    This has been blown all out of proportion by the prohibitionists that stand to lose. The true bottom line is that we shouldn’t be ruining people’s lives for preferring cannabis unless they cause real harm.

    Let’s get this expensive drug war over with and get back to making money!

  13. They are scared shitless of this, like I have said all along. No way they want to let these laws stand, but if they try to stop it, they are going to get massive political blowback from it. They know this, they are really squirming and it’s fun to watch.

    The WOD is over, at least as far as MJ is concerned, it’s just that it’s going to die a slow and painful death.

    They will eventually turn to Obamacare, for the NEW WOD. Smoke a little weed? PENALTAX!

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