Holder Asked To Testify On Marijuana Legalization Before Senate Committee

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has invited Attorney General Eric Holder to testify next month on the Justice Department’s progress in crafting a formal policy on marijuana legalization.

Leahy, who says he supports allowing legalization in Colorado and Washington to continue, sent a letter last December asking the Obama administration to make its position public after those states approved legalization in the November election.

Holder said in February that guidance would be coming “relatively soon.” There has been no further public announcements from Justice since.

“It is important, especially at a time of budget constraints, to determine whether it is the best use of federal resources to prosecute the personal or medicinal use of marijuana in states that have made such consumption legal,” Leahy said in a statement. “I believe that these state laws should be respected.  At a minimum, there should be guidance about enforcement from the federal government.”

As TPM reported last week, state officials in Colorado and Washington — which have already taken significant steps toward creating a regulatory system for legalized marijuana — say they believe they have “tacit approval” from Justice to continue with legalization.

The hearing will be Sept. 10 at 10 a.m.