Holder invited to testify on pot laws

Attorney General Eric Holder has been invited to testify in the Senate next month on conflicts between state and federal marijuana laws.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Monday that he would hold a hearing on these conflicts on Sept. 10, in light of decisions by Colorado and Washington state to legalize marijuana for personal use. 

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Leahy is one of several lawmakers who have called on the Obama administration to clarify that state officials will not face federal criminal penalties for enforcing state laws, including the laws in 20 states that allow medicinal marijuana consumption.

"It is important, especially at a time of budget constraints, to determine whether it is the best use of federal resources to prosecute the personal or medicinal use of marijuana in states that have made such consumption legal," Leahy said Monday.

"I believe that these state laws should be respected," he said. "At a minimum, there should be guidance about enforcement from the federal government."

Earlier this year, several House Democrats proposed legislation that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and regulate in through a new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) proposed the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) proposed the Marijuana Tax Equity Act.