Huffpost Politics

Even The Nation's Top Law Enforcement Official Has Smoked Pot

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Attorney General Eric Holder said he smoked pot in college during an interview with HuffPost published Tuesday.

And the way he put it, it really wasn't a big deal:

Asked about his own personal history with marijuana, Holder told HuffPost he used pot in college and had characterized it as "youthful experimentation" in background checks for various federal nominations.

"Yeah, I certainly have said in my four, five, whatever number confirmation hearings I've had that you fill out the forms, that I had youthful experimentation, I think was the phrase that we were told to use, when I was in college," Holder said.

Holder is in good company -- President Obama also smoked marijuana in his youth, and wrote about the experience in his memoir "Dreams From My Father."

Meanwhile, the war on drugs has left the U.S. with the world's highest incarceration rate, as HuffPost noted earlier:

More than half of federal prisoners are incarcerated for drug crimes in 2010, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and that number has only just dipped below 50 percent in 2011. Despite more relaxed attitudes among the public at large toward non-violent offenses like marijuana use, the number of people in federal prison for drug offenses spiked from 74,276 in 2000 to 97,472 in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The punishment falls disproportionately on people of color. Blacks make up 50 percent of the state and local prisoners incarcerated for drug crimes. Black kids are 10 times more likely to be arrested for drug crimes than white ones -- even though white kids are more likely to abuse drugs.

A marijuana arrest happens roughy every 42 seconds in the U.S., according to a 2012 FBI report. In 2011, the number of arrests for marijuana possession surpassed arrests for all violent crimes combined.

Read the full interview with Holder here.

Also on HuffPost:

Legal Marijuana Across The U.S.
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Eric Holder at center of marijuana debate - Josh Gerstein ... - Politico

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