marijuana legalization

Eric Holder in the Hot Seat on Pot, Fired Up to Defend DOJ Enforcement (Video)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As states and cities move to liberalize marijuana laws, the administration looks at changes to federal policy and the No. 2 House Democrat reverses course on decriminalization, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. found himself in a charged congressional hearing on Tuesday.  

Pressed by members from both sides of the aisle to defend Justice Department practices in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, Holder insisted the Obama administration has not "retreated."  

Could Pot Become Legal in Nation's Capital?

A 2011 pro-marijuana legalization rally near the White House. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

When D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray signed a bill  to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in the District, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton immediately jumped in to say she would defend the effort in Congress.  

Congress could overturn the measure with a bill of its own. But with a shift in public opinion and recent pot policy changes nationally, some are predicting the nation's lawmakers will ignore the change in their own backyard.