NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Don't look to Attorney General Eric Holder to make any more efforts towards marijuana legalization. Tuesday at the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Enforcement by the Justice Department, Rep. Cohen (D-TN) pointedly asked Holder to request a study from the Secretary of Science on changing marijuana from a schedule 1 controlled substance and was turned down.
"Why will you not act?" questioned Cohen, "Congress won't act, because Congress is generally like tortoises. It will not put its head out there."
"I think we have acted in a responsible way," said Holder. He noted his Smart Crime initiatives, cited his resource restraints and finally said his department had acted appropriately.
Cohen pushed harder saying, "All you have to do is ask. Why not ask?" Cohen went on to say that with 21 states legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes that there was obviously a medical benefit. A schedule 1 controlled substance has no medical benefit.
"What's obvious to one is perhaps not obvious to another," Holder responded. He finally ended the exchange saying, "I'm satisfied with what we have done."
Several members of Congress clearly felt Holder should not have allowed Colorado and Washington to pass laws that conflicted with Federal law. He continually said he had limited resources and that there were many technical violations of Federal law that his department just couldn't go after.
Other lawmakers asked why could these states could decide not to follow Federal law on controlled substances, but other states weren't allowed to decide not to follow Obamacare. Some tried to correlate immigration laws to marijuana laws, but Holder wasn't backing down. He just kept repeating that he had limited resources.
Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO) hounded Holder as to why he wasn't enforcing marijuana laws.
"We are enforcing the laws of the land." Holder retorted with "Would you have us prosecute every marijuana possession case that exists in the United States ofAmerica? " Smith refused to answer, and Holder volunteered, "I'll take that as a no."
-- Written by Debra Borchardt in New York.