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Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Marijuana Policy Going on Now

An interesting hearing on federal marijuana policy in the face of medical marijuana in 20 states and legal marijuana in two states was supposed to start a few minutes ago.

It hasn't yet, though.

You can watch the hearings in real time here.

I'll be popping back in periodically to update this blog post as warranted, and will be writing a feature article on it for later today.

Update: 2:50 PM EST the hearing has started. Leahy is speaking.

Update: Leahy: "I don’t think federal prosecutors should be pursuing low level users of marijuana complying with the laws of their states."

Update: 3:00 PM EST Grassley: "Marijuana is a dangerous and addictive drug....we could see a Starbucks of marijuana..."

Update: 3:20 PM EST In response to a question from Leahy, Deputy AG Cole said that a preemption lawsuit wasn't a good choice because if the federal government prevailed, marijuana would still be legal in Colorado and Washington, but there wouldn't be any regulation.

Update: 3:35 PM EST Sen. Whitehouse asks for clarity regarding not prosecuting financial institutions and others receiving funds. Cole says only if the eight federal enforcement priorities are implicated. Earlier, he suggested that the DEA wasn't going to be pressuring armored car companies to not work with dispensaries.

Update: 3:45 PM EST Cole is done. Now up are the King County, WA, sheriff, a rep of Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper, and neo-prohibitionist Kevin Sabet.

Update: 3:50 PM EST King County Sheriff Urquhart: "My experience shows me the drug war has been a failure. We've incarcerated a generation of citizens, but not stopped demand. We in the government have failed the people, and the people decided to try something else. I support I-502."

Update: 4:00 PM EST Kevin Sabet finds Deputy AG Cole's recent guidance "disturbing" and argues that the administration can take steps now to destroy the looming creation of Big Marijuana. Why open the floodgates and hope for the best?

Update: 4:15 PM EST The issue of access to banking services has been raised throughout the hearing, both by senators and by witnesses. I was a bit surprised, but I guess business is business.

I'm signing off on this post now unless someone says something really surprising in the remaining minutes. Look for our feature article on the hearing later today.

Washington, DC
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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hope I'm first to comment

the results of legalizing marijuana you can put your officers on the drug cartel, somewhere they can do good, the government can stop trying to get the drug cartels out of the system and make the taxes up where people are not going smoke cigeretts to make tax money, instead of loosing all that tax money you will make this money off of legalizing.... and alcohol is worse for anyone than marijuana, it is not addicting, nor does it make you want other worse drugs.....if you see what happens to people on MAN-MADE pain killers, and see what a weed can do and how it doesn't effect other parts of your body including stomach, liver, kidneys, all good here and I have been on marijuana for pain since pain management cannot find anything that works as good, without any problems that may arise taking man-made pills, my kidneys are great, my liver is undamaged, my stomach has no ulcers and my pain is forgotten at least until I take a few more puffs after it comes 49 I have a great blood pressure, don't smoke (one thing that helped me quit is marijuana after the drugs that are supposed to make you quit failed), have good liver, kidneys, and other organs except arteries.....I have epilepsy also and it makes me calm enough to let my pills that I take every day, grand ma seizures from concussion from playing football with my neighbors and an old oak tree, it makes me calm enough to get thru for the pills to kick in.....scarry when you have to wait on pills to kick in.....

"a Starbucks of marijuana"

For Sen. Grassley's benefit, here's how we can keep Big Corporations from harmfully dominating cannabis like they do food (all that high fructose Corn Sugar misnamed Syrup to fool kids into getting hooked)-- have millions of families all over the country read on-line grower guides like Ed Rosenthal, plant a bunch of high quality cannabis seeds, harvest leaves for teas and salads until there are just two (2) best females bearing Trichomes, etc.  Enough herb for everybody

Oops sorry, Conflict of Interest, a lot of that Corn Sugar is grown in IOWA...  Cannabis helps millions of folks learn how to eat smarter (less corn sugar, uh oh)...  Sorry, corn-based ethanol is going to be replaced by hemp-based ethanol.  What to do? 

Well, how about reforesting Iowa and growing the world's best 200-year-old hardwood trees by 2222?  CORN is a good precursor crop for CANNABIS-- plant the cannabis where the corn was.  CANNABIS leaves behind abundant LITTER, good topsoil for TREES.  After a cannabis crop year or two, seed with fast-growing invasive trees like cottonwood and ailanthus to build up drought-resistance; after a decade or two, seed the noble hardwoods and pines everyone wants their kids to live among.

Marijuana described as "dangerous".

Every time some uninformed individual speaks out against marijuana they describe it as dangerous. Even though there Isn't a single recorded case of anybody dying, or being made ill by pot critics throw this word around like it's a proven fact. The fact is , it's marijuana laws that are dangerous. Millions jailed , thousands killed , billions spent all to satisfy these "witch hunters" in their desire to force their morals on the rest of us. Sen. Grassley should be charged with perjury.

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