U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department will announce “relatively soon” its policy on recently passed state measures legalizing the use of marijuana.
“There is a tension between federal law and these state laws,” Holder said in response to questions after a speech at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. “I would expect the policy pronouncement that we’re going to make will be done relatively soon.”
Voters in Washington and Colorado on Nov. 6 approved ballot proposals legalizing possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.
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Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Colorado Attorney General John Suthers sent a letter to Holder for guidance about how the federal government intends to enforce its laws, which still view marijuana as illegal.
The federal government is weighing this. However, previously federal officials have said marijuana remains illegal on the federal level and the controlled Substances Act will be enforced.
Of special concern for state regulators is how to protect state employees who violate federal drug law by complying with state marijuana laws.
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