Eric Holder, Attorney General under President Obama, told a New York TV station that legalization of marijuana would not likely lead to addiction.
“I’ve never seen any scientific evidence that points you to concerns about addiction through the use of marijuana,” Holder said in an interview with NY1.
“We need to move marijuana from Schedule I, so research can be done. It is classified now on the same level as heroin is, and clearly that is inappropriate.”
In his capacity as US Attorney General, although Holder officially did nothing to remove cannabis from the DEA’s draconian classification of marijuana, some advocates of recreational weed believed he played a key role in the early days of legalization at the state level.
During Holder’s time as head of the Justice Department - 2009 to 2015 - the Cole Memo was issued, which essentially allowed states to implement their own legal cannabis programs without federal interference.
Holder told NY1 that the federal government should allow states to implement their own legalization laws and programs.
“I think if you allow the states to experiment, we’ll ultimately come to a national consensus about what it is we ought to do with regard to marijuana.”
Holder also spoke about unfair enforcement of cannabis criminalization, referring to the fact that blacks and Latinos are four to five times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana, despite roughly equal usage rates.
“One of the things that I am concerned about, though, is the racial disparity you see in the enforcement of marijuana laws,” said Holder.
“That is something that I think is extremely troubling.”