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Why I’m ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About Eric Holder’s Recent Marijuana Comments

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eric-holder-marijuanaOn his way out of office, United States Attorney General Eric Holder is being swooned over by many marijuana activists and organizations. Eric Holder expressed last month that he is open to marijuana rescheduling. Yesterday he said he is ‘cautiously optimistic’ about marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington. This set the marijuana social media world on fire, with so many people expressing their pleasure with Eric Holder. I am not one of those people. I find it sadly convenient that Eric Holder is changing his tone on marijuana policy only after he said that he is leaving his job. Below is an excerpt from an interview that Eric Holder did with CNN:

The outgoing U.S. attorney general said he is “cautiously optimistic” when it comes to Washington and Colorado’s experiment with marijuana legalization.

Eric Holder, who announced last month his plans to retire, is one of President Barack Obama’s longest-serving Cabinet members and has faced the delicate task of defining federal policy after a wave of marijuana legalization at the state level across the country.

“We don’t want to put into the federal system, low level people who are simply there for possessory offenses,” Holder said Monday in an interview with CNN’s Evan Perez.

What does ‘cautiously optimistic’ mean? Does it mean that he will fully endorse marijuana legalization, and stay out of Colorado and Washington’s business? Does it mean that he feels things are going well in those states, so he will let his replacement know that there’s no need to intervene? Or does it mean that he is throwing around political rhetoric, and that his words are empty? Because he also made the following statement in the same interview:

“What I’ve told the governors of those states is that if we’re not satisfied with their regulatory scheme that we reserve the right to come in and to sue them. So we’ll see,” Holder said.

It sounds to me like Eric Holder is ‘cautiously optimistic’ that he will still get a chance to go after people in those states. And by ‘sue them’ he really means potential SWAT raids. I leave you with an excerpt from an article I posted earlier this year, before Eric Holder started his semi-flip flopping. From Fire Dog Lake:

During a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing today Rep. Steve Cohen (D) directly pointed out to Attorney General Eric Holder that the power to reschedule any drug, including marijuana, rests with his office.

When explicitly asked why he hasn’t even at least request the medical evaluation that would begin the rescheduling process Holder responded, “I’m satisfied with what we have done.”

What they “have done”  is actively stood in the way of change. Under Holder’s leadership the Department of Justice has not only refused to move forward with a petition from several sitting governors regarding the rescheduling of marijuana but has actually gone to court to fight against efforts to compel them to act.

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