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Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Talks about Legalization of Marijuana

The former U.S. Attorney General recently stated that marijuana possession should no longer be considered quite so serious a crime at both the federal and state levels. Eric Holder made the bold statement in a PBS “Frontline” interview.

During the far-ranging interview with PBS, Eric Holder touched on a number of subjects, including the country’s criminal justice system and the federal government’s strategy for combating serious drug crimes.

Under current federal law, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled dangerous substance (CDS). Schedule I drugs are illicit drugs deemed to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. As a result, anyone caught in possession of marijuana can face significant criminal penalties.

Holder has called for weed to be rescheduled because it is “not appropriate” for cannabis to be classified the same way as heroin. Although Holder did not go so far as to say that marijuana should be completely decriminalized, he did acknowledge that marijuana decriminalization is something that lawmakers in the U.S. Congress should take a long, hard look at.

Holder specifically pointed to the examples of Colorado and Washington, where the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized at the state level. In addition to those states, Oregon and Alaska have also legalized recreational marijuana use, while several other states have passed laws that legalize the use of medical marijuana.

In New Jersey, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I CDS. As set forth by N.J.S.A. 24:21-5, pot, heroin, MDMA (Ecstasy) and synthetic marijuana are all classified as Schedule I drugs. Meanwhile, illicit drugs like cocaine and crack cocaine, as well as prescription drugs like Vicodin and Oxycodone, are classified as Schedule II drugs in NJ because they have a high potential for abuse, can lead to psychic or physical dependence and currently have accepted medical uses with severe restrictions.

For additional information, access the International Business Times article, “Marijuana Legalization 2016: Eric Holder Says He Wants to Discuss Decriminalizing Weed.”


In New Jersey, possession of marijuana is a very serious crime. If you or a loved one has been arrested for simple possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, or any other drug offense, the experienced criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty can help you. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation about your case.

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