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Former Attorney General Eric Holder Says Cannabis Should Be Rescheduled

In an interview on PBS’s Frontline last week, former Attorney General Eric Holder argued that cannabis should be rescheduled. The statement is not exceptionally surprising, considering that Holder signalled some support for the rescheduling of the drug in September 2014. It is still significant, though, as it is the clearest support the former Attorney General has ever expressed for such a move.

Frontline’s Martin Smith asked Holder if he thought marijuana should be decriminalized, to which Holder responded:

“I certainly think it ought to be rescheduled. You know, we treat marijuana in the same way that we treat heroin now, and that clearly is not appropriate. So at a minimum, I think Congress needs to do that. Then I think we need to look at what happens in Colorado and what happens in Washington.”

When pressed about harder drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, Holder was more conservative, saying that “It’s hard for me to imagine a situation in which those drugs ought to be legalized… If you look at the impact, the effect that the addictive qualities of those drugs [have], that’s problematic.”

He argued that alcohol is different than these drugs because of its cultural history and significance, and that it “is fundamentally different than meth, fundamentally different than crack cocaine, fundamentally different than heroin.”

Regarding the drug war, Holder said that it is “over:”

“Certainly calling it the drug war should be over. But the battle against the narcotics problem in this country has to go on. But we need to take some different approaches, and it should not all be seen as just a criminal justice problem. It ought to be seen as a public health issue.”

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