Holder, Senate Committee Will Examine State, Federal Pot Laws

Aug 26, 2013

The chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee wants to look into the conflicts between state and federal marijuana laws.

Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy says he's invited Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole to talk to the committee about the issue on Sept. 10.

Two states, Washington and Colorado, have legalized small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Twenty others have approved use of medical marijuana and others have shifted to civil fines like traffic tickets for small-level possession.

The federal government still calls marijuana illegal in all instances. Leahy says he'd like to see the state laws respected, and wants clarity on how federal authorities will respond to marijuana sales and use in states where penalties have been reduced or eliminated.