Action Alert for Eric Holder's Confirmation Hearing

During the presidential campaign, President-elect Obama pledged numerous times to end DEA raids on individuals who use or provide medical cannabis in accordance with their state law. The U.S. Attorney General is the member of the cabinet who will implement Obama¹s criminal justice policies, including federal marijuana enforcement.

Confirmation hearings for Obama's nominee, Eric Holder, are scheduled to begin on January 15th before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). Holder's past positions on drug law reform are outlined here.


Please help NORML make sure the next Attorney General keeps the promises made by President-elect Obama! Call or write Senator Leahy's office at (202) 224-4242 and say:

"Hi, my name is ___________ and I am calling about the Attorney General confirmation hearings. President-elect Obama said numerous times during his campaign that DEA raids on individuals legally qualified to use medical cannabis in their states are a waste of resources and that he would end that policy.

72 million Americans live in the 13 states with medical cannabis laws.

Please ask Eric Holder if he will uphold Obama's promise and end DEA raids on legal medical cannabis patients.²

The hearings will be on C-Span on Thursday...let's see Mr. Holder answer a
straight forward question regarding the clear and emerging conflict between states favoring medical access to cannabis and a federal government that
yields no quarter on cannabis prohibition--even for the sick and dying.

The link has an automated form where they will send the message for you.

Related Post: Another Change You Won't See From Obama.

From The Hill: Legalizing Marijuana Tops Obama's Online Poll

More from NORML on the second round of online questions to Obama's change.gov: 0-Blow-Off: Obama Site Ducks Marijuana Reform Questions (Again!)

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    I'm torn about this... (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by esmense on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 08:16:55 PM EST
    Yes, I want the Obama administration to to end DEA raids on individuals who use or provide medical cannabis in accordance with their state law. But, no, I don't want (easily sensationalized and exploited) drug policy issues to dominate Holder's hearings or media coverage of the early days of the Obama presidency.

    Sensationalized? (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 14, 2009 at 08:51:47 AM EST
    But our drug policies are sensationally poor...I'd love for this issue to dominate the hearings, it is usually an issue ignored in the halls of congress.  The public airing of these grievances is long overdue.

    I'm thinking about how poorly the Clinton (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by esmense on Wed Jan 14, 2009 at 10:47:18 AM EST
    administration and the gay community were served by having the issue of gays in the military forced immediately to the top of that brand new administration's agenda (by the military opponents of gays in the military -- who correctly figured such early forcing of the issue would work to their advantage). On that controversial issue, progressives would have been much better served, and the "public airing" of the issue would have taken place in a more productive environment, if the incoming administration had had some time to establish itself and gain the public's trust.

    Why not give this administration time to act on their pledges? Wait to complain until its demonstrated that there is something to complain about.


    I hear ya... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 14, 2009 at 11:57:12 AM EST
    but I've been waiting for a rational drug policy my entire life, people older than me have waited their entire lives...if we pipe down we are too easily forgotten or brushed aside.  Holder and the incoming admin. must be sent a clear message that the same old same old insane drug warrior ways will not be tolerated.

    It's all moot anyway, calling the dogs off the sick is merely the tip of the iceberg...Obama isn't serious about drug policy form beyond that, he lacks the courage or the will...like all of his predecessors.


    I hear you, too (none / 0) (#10)
    by esmense on Wed Jan 14, 2009 at 12:30:17 PM EST
    My (faint) hope is that if this administration can rehabilitate liberal or progressive approaches to bread and butter issues it will provide an opportunity for progressives to be heard, and heeded, on more controversial social issues, too.

    I discussed this w Senator Feingold (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Ben Masel on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 08:28:25 PM EST
    a month ago. unless he's changed his mind, I expect he'll be asking Holder this question.

    1996 was (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by JamesTX on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 09:57:26 PM EST
    some time ago, although for people my age it isn't the eternity which it appears to be to the youthful. For me, it seems like a few months ago, although I realize I could walk a little better then and actually do physical labor for more than a few minutes. I think I definitely held opinions and beliefs then that have changed quite a bit. Surely Holder has changed also.

    I notice the only word we get out of the Obama team on this issue is very guarded and leans to the default classical conservative prohibitionist position (in spite of the campaign talk). That could easily be precautionary maneuvering, as the drug warriors are very, very powerful. And talk of decriminalization could be used to start a nasty anti-Obama revolt which might impact the political capital needed for other things.

    Somehow I suspect the administration will make subtle changes toward harm minimization by changing policies, but all the while keeping the traditional prohibitionist rhetoric intact as the cover story. That would be the practical thing to do. They surely will take into account the Al Capone effect -- the danger the Nixonian war has brought to our society by empowering those who have the means to break the laws with impunity (by making them filthy, filthy rich).

    The problem is the symbolic meaning of drugs, marijuana in particular, as being part of the "hippie" generation and representing anti-war sentiment and anti-authoritarianism. That is why decriminalization talk is so very dangerous for a politician, because right wing heads explode at any mention. We aren't going to see any genuine moves toward rational drug policy until everyone who lived through the sixties is dead. The symbolism has too much power over those people, and the practical facts are irrelevant. As George Lakoff writes, "the facts bounce off" when frames control thinking. Drug decriminalization is associated with sixties liberalism and Vietnam war protest at a very deep psychological level.

    The Center For Constitutional Rights (CCR), (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Edger on Wed Jan 14, 2009 at 06:55:15 PM EST
    also sent out an Action Alert Tuesday afternoon... a call for a Special Prosecutor to Investigate Torture:

    ...a call to action to phone your senators with questions for Eric Holder's hearing on his nomination to be the next Attorney General. The second is to send you a link to a report we released yesterday on the simple steps to closing Guantanamo.

    While President-Elect Obama has said he will close the base, he has yet to say how or when, which are the most important questions. We are all excited at the chance for a new beginning: it is up to us to make it one we can be proud of. Please call your senators, and please download and distribute our report so we can end this terrible chapter in our history.

    This Thursday, January 15th, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to decide whether nominee Eric Holder should be confirmed as the new Attorney General.</font> While Holder's public statements suggest he would be a marked improvement over Alberto Gonzales and Michael Mukasey, it is critical that the American public be certain that our nation's chief lawyer has an unwavering commitment to upholding the rule of law.

    Senate Judiciary Committee members have a serious responsibility to put an end to subverting law to politics - and to ensure that President-Elect Obama appoints an Attorney General who will help him restore, protect and expand our human rights. And it is our responsibility to make our voices heard and stand against torture, racial profiling and other violations of human rights.

    Please call the Senate Judiciary Committee members today and tell them that we need Eric Holder to make a clear statement against torture and racial profiling. Phone numbers are provided below. It will only take a few minutes to urge them to ask these two critical questions:

    Are you, unlike your predecessor, willing to acknowledge under oath what U.S. military and civilian courts have recognized for over 100 years: that waterboarding is torture and therefore criminal? If so, will you fulfill your duty to ensure that justice and the rule of law apply to all by appointing a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute those who have used, ordered, and authorized the use of waterboarding and other forms of torture?

    I've saved the CCR Action Alert email I received as a web document so that you can read it in full here, if you hadn't received it. It includes the list of Senators you can call, with their contact phone numbers, who will be involved in Holder's confirmation hearings later this week.

    Sanjay Gupta (none / 0) (#4)
    by jedimom on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 10:31:19 PM EST
    is also on record against decriminalization, and Surgeon General could certainly contribute to effecting change in this policy....

    So Is Obama (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by squeaky on Tue Jan 13, 2009 at 10:58:46 PM EST
    And most of the other idiots. Gupta will be a mouthpiece for the new admin, as he was for CNN. His personal views seem irrelevant to me, in both cases. Gupta will be the PR guy for Obama in matters of health etc. He will support Obama's agenda.

    If Obama decides to decriminalize MJ Gupta will be the face of it. Not the other way around.


    Decrim's not a Presidential prerogative. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Jan 14, 2009 at 12:10:04 AM EST
    Rescheduling of controlled substances, however, was delegated by statute to the Secretary of HHS, upon a revbiew of the science justifying placement within the various schedules. there's a Cannabis Rescheduling Petition pending in HHS since 2002. The no-drama option is to order that the petition be acted upon.