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AG Holder Resigns, Reconfirms Support of Drug Policy ReformsDarby Beck Special to Salem-News.com
Lengthy Career Ends with Recognition of Drug Policy Failures
(WASHINGTON D.C.) - Justice Department officials reported this morning that Attorney General Eric Holder is announcing his resignation as soon as a successor is nominated and confirmed.
His career, which spanned five and a half years, has been marked by a number of drug policy reforms to which he reconfirmed his commitment in an interview with Katie Couric Tuesday.
In the interview, Holder said science should be the basis for making decisions about the scheduling of marijuana and that the sentencing of nonviolent drug offenders is a serious civil rights issue.
Marijuana is currently listed as a Schedule I drug, the most restrictive category, which limits the ability of researchers to study its therapeutic potential and of physicians to prescribe it for people with legitimate medical need. He also recognized racial disparities in drug sentencing as an obvious civil rights issue.
“Especially when you see that drug usage among African Americans [and] Hispanics is roughly the same as whites,” said Holder, “and yet you see Hispanics and African Americans going to jail for far longer and at a much greater rate... It's a civil rights issue.”
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an organization of criminal justice professionals dedicated to ending the war on drugs, praised the comments and held out hope that Holder’s successor would be even more committed to enacting real change.
“While it’s nice to see Holder making these statements and we applaud the reforms that he has effected during his time in office, I wish he had done more within his term to directly address these problems,” said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
“I am hopeful his successor will recognize the war on drugs for what it is: the single biggest problem afflicting our criminal justice system and the central civil rights issue of our time.”
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