AG Holder discusses federal marijuana policy enforcement
Long-time Obama cabinet member says Snowden poses national security threat
Attorney General Eric Holder drew a massive crowd at the Miller Center Thursday afternoon, as onlookers overflowed the main conference room to satellite locations to hear Holder discuss various national security and domestic policy concerns.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder drew a large crowd to the Miller Center Thursday afternoon, as onlookers overflowed the main conference room and satellite locations to hear Holder discuss various national security and domestic policy concerns.
A member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet since the start of his first term, Holder expressed enthusiasm for multiple domestic policy reforms, including improvements to the federal justice system, support for the legalization of same-sex marriage and efforts to alter banking regulations to accommodate newly legal sales of marijuana in some states.
“You have businesses that are recognized by state governments generating cash as a result of the sale [of marijuana], and you don’t want just huge amounts of cash in these places where they can’t use the banking system,” Holder said, referring to the illegality of depositing cash in federal banks from the sale of the drug. “We will be issuing some regulations very soon to deal with that issue.”
Holder said the new regulations are not an endorsement of the sale of marijuana, but rather an “an attempt to deal with a reality that exists in these states.”
Holder also spoke about reforms the justice system which would help alleviate the relationship between crime and the lower socioeconomic class.
“The U.S. has in our jail system one-fourth of the world’s prison population … this is way out of line,” Holder said. “It’s not a coincidence that we see the most violence committed where we see the highest level of social dysfunction. Schools that don’t educate, high levels of unemployment … We need a system of prevention, rehabilitation … I’m pretty sure if we implemented [these changes] the number would be a lot less.”
Holder also briefly discussed outstanding concerns about Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor who released classified information about NSA surveillance programs to media organizations last June.
“If Snowden were to come back to the US and enter a plea, we would engage with his lawyers,” Holder said. “We are not willing to consider clemency as an option.”
Holder emphasized that Snowden still poses a threat to national security, saying his actions in releasing confidential national security information had a “deleterious” effect on the nation.