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Holder Continues to Remain Silent on State Cannabis Legalization

United States Attorney General Eric Holder

The biggest news for marijuana legalization in the United States is the suspicious lack of news from the federal government.

As of today, it has been exactly nine months since the people of Colorado and Washington State voted to legalize cannabis for adults. It has been eight months since the law went into effect in Washington State and it has been almost half a year since federal Attorney General Eric Holder promised the state attorney generals that the federal government would decide how to handle the issue “relatively soon.”

Yet there still has not been any indication from the Department of Justice about how they plan to deal with the fact that marijuana is now legal under state law. There have been no executive orders from the president, no official memos from Holder, no lawsuits filed, nor public statements from top officials. There haven’t even been significant hints about a possible response during news interviews or from media leaks. Apparently, Holder has a very different definition of “soon” than the rest of the country.

The near total silence on the issue from the Obama administration is noteworthy given that in less than four months Washington State should begin issuing licenses to marijuana growers and stores. Retail cannabis stores in Colorado could begin selling to the general public in less than five months. The window of time for the federal government to try to stop these new marijuana industries before they become established is rapidly closing.

It is very difficult to discern anything from a complete lack of information, but the silence might be a positive development. Currently, the administration seems to be going out of its way to completely ignore the new laws. If simply ignoring the laws becomes the unofficial policy for the rest of Obama’s term that would not be a bad outcome.

For now we are still waiting in the dark to see what Holder will say officially about the new laws, or if he will ever say anything at all.

Photo released under Public Domain

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at