Asa Hutchinson, a former Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, on Tuesday refused to say why marijuana shouldn’t be taxed and regulated like alcohol.
“Explain why alcohol should be regulated but marijuana is different?” CNN host Wolf Blitzer asked.
“Well, that is a debate that can be conducted in the halls of Congress,” Hutchinson replied. “Whenever you’re looking at marijuana, it is a harmful drug. If you legalize it, it is going to expand use. Certainly our democracy is not going to fall if you legalize it. It is a question that our country needs to decide and its a fair debate.”
He said he was worried the country was going in “two directions” on marijuana, rather than having one uniform policy. Though Colorado and Washington state have both legalized the recreational use of marijuana, the drug is still considered a prohibited substance by the federal government.
“The Obama Administration’s Department of Justice is evaluating this,” Hutchinson added. “I think they still can make the decision that they cannot just simply turn their back on what is a clear violation of federal law.”
Hutchinson, along with seven other former DEA administrators, feared the Obama Administration was abandoning the war on drugs in an open letter published Tuesday.
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