Starting Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will open landmark hearings that marijuana activists hope will eliminate conflicts between state and federal law when it comes to marijuana legalization.
The hearing was called by committee chairman Patrick Leahy, who favors marijuana legalization. Leahy initiated the hearings after US Attorney General Eric Holder announced that federal authorities have changed their enforcement tactics when it comes to recreational and medicinal marijuana.
Pro-marijuana advocates hope that the hearings would lead to a clearer picture on marijuana for lawmakers and voters. It is anticipated that issues, such as changes in federal banking laws that would allow marijuana sellers to legally work with federal banks, will be addressed during the hearings. Others hope that the hearings will lead to the total elimination of the federal government’s laws against marijuana, allowing states to determine its legality on their own.
People expected to speak at the hearings include Deputy Attorney General James Cole, Ken Sabet, a former senior advisor on drug policy to Obama’s Drug Czar, John Urquhart, King County Washington Sheriff, and Jack Finlaw, chief legal counsel to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. US Attorney General Eric Holder has been invited to participate in the hearings, but had not agreed to at time of print.