Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 2, 2015

Leahy Schedules Marijuana Hearing, Wants State Laws Respected

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy will hold a hearing on marijuana policy after the Senate returns and said Monday that state laws legalizing the drug “should be respected.”

The Vermont Democrat’s inviting Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Deputy Attorney General James Cole to testify at the Sept. 10 hearing. Presumably expecting a large audience, Leahy has scheduled the hearing in the oversized hearing room in the Hart Senate Office Building that is used for major events such as Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

“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.”

The announcement of the hearing, which will focus on conflicts between state and federal laws, follows last week’s statement by White House spokesman Josh Earnest that President Barack Obama has yet to change his view on the issue of legalized marijuana use.

“The president acknowledged that, the priority here — the priority in terms of the dedication of law enforcement resources should be targeted toward our drug kingpins, drug traffickers and others who perpetrate violence in the conduct of the drug trade, that that is the best use of our law enforcement resources,” Earnest said. “At the same time, the president does not — you know, at this point, advocate a change in the law.”

That statement came in response to a question that came one day after a CQ Roll Call reporter brought up the subject at the daily White House press briefing.

Comments (43)

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  1. MatthewCooke

    Aug. 26, 2013
    1:55 p.m.

    Decriminalize it all. Watch the movie #howtomakemoneysellingdrugs

  2. MikeParent

    Aug. 26, 2013
    2:59 p.m.

    Finally, there’s some positive movement at a high level!

  3. Weedbay Guy

    Aug. 26, 2013
    4:48 p.m.

    Those who suppress freedom always do so in the name of law and order.
    John V. Lindsay

  4. bubbany

    Aug. 26, 2013
    4:50 p.m.

    and the first one of them that says “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN” should be thrown into the street

  5. Thisis Insane

    Aug. 26, 2013
    6:35 p.m.

    Let’s all hope this hearing accomplishes more than just scheduling another hearing to discuss it some more…

  6. claygooding

    Aug. 26, 2013
    6:50 p.m.

    There are two committees capable of ending the war on marijuana and this is the strongest one,,the other is the Way’s and Means committee,,without funding the DEA can’t do anything.
    I hope Polis or another legislator from a legal state is there to suggest cannabis be removed from Schedule 1 so the science can be done on organic marijuana.

  7. don76550

    Aug. 26, 2013
    8:29 p.m.

    Oh how interesting. The lying hypocrit, Leahy, certainly is contemptions over state laws that protects your 2nd amendment rights. He is contemptions of the 10th amendment about states rights.

  8. FireitupKansas Legalize

    Aug. 26, 2013
    9:04 p.m.

    Think! Obama can’t be known as the President that legalized marijuana. But, it would be ok for him to be the President who was in office at the time that legalization occurred. The problem is, the way things are actually going, its going to wind up in the hands of the wrong, “entities” I’ll call them, and so many stipulations and regulations will be put on it, there will still be a black market and prohibition will still exist. We’re talking about a vegetable. Yes ladies and gentlemen, Cannabis, our most favorite plant, is in fact a harmless vegetable. Look it up. It’s true. You keep treating it like a drug, and calling it a drug, we will not win this fight. Ever!
    It should be treated like and called, exactly what it is…veggies..

  9. Acebass1

    Aug. 27, 2013
    8:17 a.m.

    Prohibition destroys lives. Cannabis saves lives…Why is there any question? End cannabis prohibition.

  10. istme

    Aug. 27, 2013
    12:47 p.m.

    Right on! About time!

  11. ID-2

    Aug. 27, 2013
    2:54 p.m.

    Now he respects state rights.

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