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Eric Holder Invited To Senate Marijuana Policy Hearing Six Months After Promising Federal Response

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Attorney General Eric Holder, pictured at an event marking the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, has been invited to testify about the Justice Department's approach to the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado (Ryan J. Reilly / The Huffington Post). | Ryan J. Reilly / The Huffington Post

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has invited Attorney General Eric Holder to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee next month about the Justice Department's planned approach toward the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, Leahy's office announced Monday.

The announcement came exactly six months after Holder said the federal response was coming "relatively soon."

The Obama administration has often been criticized for cracking down on medical marijuana, even in states that have legalized its use. Last week, the White House confirmed that President Barack Obama doesn't support any changes to federal marijuana laws at this time.

Leahy, who chairs the committee, has also invited Deputy Attorney General James Cole to testify at the hearing, which is scheduled for Sept. 10.

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

A Justice Department spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Update: Holder originally said the federal response to the legalization of medical marijuana was coming "relatively soon" back in December.

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