Senate Judiciary Holding Marijuana Hearing Next Month

Dept. of Justice building, Washington, DC (gsa.gov)
As promised, Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has scheduled hearings on marijuana policy. "Conflicts between State and Federal Marijuana Laws" will take place September 10 at 10:00am EST in Hart 216. The page has a webcast button. No witness names have been posted yet.

One option that may get discussed is the idea for the federal government to sign contracts with states agreeing to permit their legal systems to move forward if the states commit to moving against illegal growers who are exporting outside their states. Mark Kleiman, who is consulting on I-502's implementation for Washington State, suggested it in an article published last wee in the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis, according to The Seattle Times (hat tip Center for Legal Cannabis). The idea was floated by Stuart Taylor at a forum I attended at the Brookings Institution last April, "Marijuana Legalization: Are There Alternatives to State-Federal Conflict?" Taylor published a paper on it for Brookings last spring, who points to a provision of the Controlled Substances Act that makes it possible for the government to do without congressional action.

Also of relevance: state officials in Washington and Colorado believe the Dept. of Justice has given "tacit approval" for their legalization systems moving forward, according to a report by Talking Points Memo.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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I'm excited and scared at the same time

My eyes are always glued to this page, because its the best source of news in the world of drug law reform.. that being said, this is the story I've been anxiously waiting for since the day Leahy mentioned this.

I'm both excited, and anxious.  The excitement is a thrilling sense of "wow, something good may come of this, or at least doors might get cracked open that were locked shut before."  The anxiety is from the feeling that maybe this isn't necessary at this point.. and it's a risk.

As you mentioned in the article, it would appear the fed is giving "tacit" approval to CO and WA.. but what if Congress steps in with their medelling, and THEY are the ones who stand in CO/WA's way?  That would be a huge blow.  Maybe let a sleeping dog lie just a little longer.

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Hi there, I check your new stuff daily. Your writing style is awesome, keep it up!

What Will Holder Say?

I see that Holder has been invited to testify at the hearing.  I wonder what he'll say when asked about the Administration's and DOJ's position on CO and WA.  Do you think he'll tell them, "I would say, and I mean this, that you’ll hear soon"?

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siddartha999's picture

Could be the beginning of something important...

... and another time to WRITE YOUR ELECTED OFFICIAL; even if they aren't on the committee.

Here in Texas, we have additional cause since Rep. [Candy] Cornyn resides on this committee and though he may NOT favor decriminalization, he WILL certainly favor State's Rights over the intrusion of the [heavy handed] Federal Policy & administration of same...

The next hearing that I long to see announced here is the meeting to reconsider the position of Cannabis in the Schedule 1 tier on the controlled schedules hierarchy; where it certainly does NOT belong and had the Federal entities paid ANY attention to the Shafer Commission Report [required when Cannabis was placed at schedule 1] when it was presented in 1972 things would be.... different... at the very least...

as an example:

"The criminal law is too harsh a tool to apply to personal Marijuana Cannabis possession even in the effort to discourage use. It implies an overwhelming indictment of the behavior which this commission believes is not appropriate. The actual and potential harm of use is not great enough to justify intrusion by the criminal law into private behavior, a step which our society takes only with the greatest reluctance."

Raymond Philip Shafer
Chairman of the Shafer Commission
Special Report to the President:
"Marijuana; a Symbol of Misunderstanding" 1972

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