Attorney General Eric Holder admits it is difficult to forecast if marijuana will be legalized across the United States within the next 10 years, but he is “cautiously optimistic” about the climate of the recreational marijuana industry in Colorado and Washington.
In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, Holder said he is not sure how much confidence he has that the rest of America will follow in the footsteps of pot-friendly states. “I think a lot of states are going to be looking to see what happens in Washington, what happens in Colorado before those decisions are made in substantial parts of the country,” he said.
In Colorado and Washington, which have been labeled by some as “The Great Marijuana Experiment,” the pot laws openly defy federal regulations that have classified cannabis a Schedule I dangerous substance. However, the Justice Department has agreed to not pursue federal prosecution in those states.
So far, the attorney general is impressed with how the law is being handled in both states, and he expects everything will continue to go according to plan. Still, even though he has confidence in the newfound system, Holder is not fully prepared to release the reins. "As I indicated to both governors, we will be monitoring the progress of those efforts and if we conclude that they are not being done in an appropriate way, we reserve our rights to file lawsuits."
When it comes to decriminalizing possession of marijuana, Holder says he has never agreed with laws that send young people to jail for those types of offenses. “As a former judge, I had to put in jail substantial numbers of young people for drug offenses, and it was not, from the perspective I had as a judge, necessarily a good use of law enforcement resources," he said.
When asked if he had ever smoked marijuana, Holder said he has admitted to “youthful experimentation” in various background checks. "Yeah, I certainly have said in my four, five, whatever number confirmation hearings I've had that you fill out the forms, that I had 'youthful experimentation' -- I think was the phrase that we were told to use -- when I was in college," he said.
Interestingly, while Holder admits that he does have the authority to reschedule marijuana and remove it from Uncle Sam’s list of dangerous substances, he says the Department of Justice is more interested in working with Congress to come up with a plan that makes everyone comfortable.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.