Soon after Attorney General Eric Holder tendered his resignation, he appears to be cozying up to the idea of making an argument for the legalization of marijuana.
This is a drastic shift in ideology, as Holder has resisted the shift from his past non-support for legalization over his tenure as Attorney General. In an interview with Katie Couric, he stated:
“I think it’s certainly a question we need to ask ourselves, whether or not marijuana is as serious a drug as heroin….especially given what we’ve seen recently with regard to heroin — the progression of people from using opioids to heroin use, the spread and the destruction that heroin has perpetrated all around our country. And to see by contrast, what the impact is of marijuana use. Now it can be destructive if used in certain ways, but the question of whether or not they should be in the same category is something that we need to ask ourselves and use science as the basis for making that determination.”
But questions have been raised why Holder is coming out for support now. In 2010, Holder promised federal repercussions if California legalized marijuana. It was later voted down in the state.
After Colorado and Washington legalized recreational weed in 2012, Holder didn’t express support, but didn’t condemn it either, even though the states are in direct violation of federal law. Later, 20 other states followed suite by legalizing medical cannabis. 15 states also have laws decriminalizing marijuana.
A Gallup poll found that 58% of Americans support he legislation of marijuana, which is about a 10% rise from polls conducted in 2009. While the Obama administration struggles with job approval rating, Holder’s move in supporting legalization is most likely due to the shift in attitudes of the American people.
Groups such as the ACLU has also put pressure on the administration to legalize pot, as the so called war on drugs over-criminalization has disproportionally affected and lead to the incarceration of minorities. The ACLU notes that in 2010, “… cops made one marijuana bust every 37 seconds. Once ensnared in the criminal justice system, people can lose their liberty, money, time, jobs, public benefits, child custody, drivers’ licenses and student aid…”
Holder went on to say that the Obama administration would, “more than glad to work with Congress if there is a desire to look at and reexamine how the drug is scheduled.”
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