Posted by Johnny Green
On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a first-ever Senate hearing on the issue of marijuana legalization and the tension between state and federal marijuana laws. Last November, Colorado and Washington became the first political jurisdictions in the world to approve the legal regulation of marijuana. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have also approved the medical use of marijuana. On August 29, the Department of Justice issued a directive to federal prosecutors instructing them not to interfere with state marijuana laws – as long as a number of stipulations are adhered to, such as preventing distribution to minors.
“On the one hand, it’s hard to fathom why the Senate had to wait until twenty states had legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and two more had legalized it more broadly, before taking up this issue for the first time,’ said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “But, that said, Senator Leahy’s leadership on this issue is highly welcome, and suggests that the Senate at last is acknowledging the remarkable shift in public opinion and state laws involving marijuana.”