Congratulations to Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), on your epiphany. Mr. Leahy, one of the more seasoned and powerful leaders in the U.S. Senate – in addition to being the chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee is now calling for the abolishment of mandatory minimum sentencing from both the state and federal authorities. In Sen. Leahy’s comments made last Wednesday, he stated that he had high hopes the federal government would not waste “a great deal of resources” incarcerating recreational marijuana smokers in states where it is legal.
“I think at the federal level and at the state level, get rid of these mandatory minimum sentences. Let judges act as judges and make up their own mind what should be done,” he said. “The idea that we protect society by one size fits all, or the idea that we can do this kind of symbolism to make us safer — it just does not work in the real world.”
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Sen. Leahy, who recently stated that he would like to convene hearings on the federal response to Washington and Colorado’s successful passage of marijuana legalization for recreational consumption, glossed over the ‘national hot potato’ in his prepared statement, however he did later reply to the marijuana question from college students on the chronic issue. Sen. Leahy repeated that he will seek clarification from Pres. Obama’s DOJ on its proposed plan of action regarding federal marijuana laws and the two most recent states to fly in the face of the draconian marijuana prohibition.
“My own predilection is, I hate to see a great deal of law enforcement resources spent on things like the possession, use of marijuana when we have murder cases, armed robbery cases, things like that that go unsolved,” he said.
Sen. Leahy is a survivor and a warrior, as one of the longest serving Dem’s in Congress he could have been selected for the chairmanship of the budget-controlling Senate Appropriations Committee, but instead chose to stay on as head of the Judiciary Committee, where he has the power to call hearings and move legislation on criminal justice issues.