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Eric Holder still mum on federal response to legal pot in Colorado, Washington

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Greg Campbell Contributor
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Attorney General Eric Holder breezed over a question about how the federal government will respond to marijuana legalization votes in Colorado and Washington at a Senate hearing Wednesday morning, saying only that the administration is “considering what the federal government’s response to those new statutes will be.”

“I expect that we will have an ability to announce what our policy is going to be relatively soon,” he said.

Holder was responding to a question by Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, who followed up with his own opinion that there “are more serious things” for the Justice Department to be doing other than busting people for “minor possession of marijuana.”

Holder said sequestration requires cuts of about $1 billion to the Justice Department’s budget.

Holder appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a scheduled hearing on oversight of the Justice Department. Yesterday, a group of former DEA chiefs called for senators to press him on how he would respond to pot legalization laws in Colorado and Washington. So far, the Obama administration has been silent on the new laws, which conflict with federal law prohibiting marijuana use for any reason.

Holder said he had been in communication with political leaders in both states as he weighs the federal response.

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