Senate Judiciary to probe state pot laws

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Thursday that he will hold a committee hearing over newly passed marijuana laws in 2013.

Colorado and Washington have approved state laws legalizing marijuana for personal use. The hearing will focus on how the Obama administration plans to use federal resources in light of the new laws.

The state laws have raised new questions for Justice, since federal law prohibits the use of marijuana.

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Leahy also sent a letter to Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske seeking the same information about the Obama administration's plans.

"The Senate Judiciary Committee has a significant interest in the effect of these developments on federal drug control policy,” Leahy writes in the letter to Kerlikowske.

Leahy suggested that he was open to ensuring that the federal law would account for the new state laws. 

"Legislative options exist to resolve the differences between federal and state law in this area and end the uncertainty that residents of Colorado and Washington now face," Leahy writes. "In order to give these options full consideration, the committee needs to understand how the administration intends to respond to the decision of the voters in Colorado and Washington. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter."


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