The federal government is nearly ready to announce how its law enforcement personnel and prosecutors will respond to the decision Colorado and Washington voters made in November to legalize marijuana use in their states, Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday.
"We’re still in the process of reviewing both of the initiatives that were passed," Holder said at a morning appearance, answering a question from Colorado Attorney General John Suthers. "I would say, and I mean this, that you’ll hear soon."
"We are, I think, in our last stages of that review, and are trying to make a determination as to what the policy ramifications are going to be, what our international obligations are. There are a whole variety of things that go into this determination," Holder said. "But the people in [Colorado] and Washington deserve that answer and we will have that, as I said, relatively soon."
Federal law treats marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance like Heroin and LSD. However, as pot has been legalized for medicinal use in 18 states in recent years, federal prosecutors have had to confront the awkwardness of prosecuting individuals for actions that are legal under state law. That predicament became even more intense after the passage of broad decriminalization measures in Colorado and Washington state last fall.