This Saturday, April 20, the unofficial holiday of marijuana lovers, the pro-pot movement is inviting thousands to rally on the National Mall for the legalization of marijuana.
The rally will be held just two days after Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., introduced legislation for a federal commission that would resolve the mismatch between federal and state laws on marijuana. The sale and possession of marijuana was made legal in Colorado and Washington in September, but remains illegal under federal law.
On Wednesday, White House Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske said it was up to the Department of Justice to determine how to resolve the contradictory laws. But he also made his opposition to marijuana legalization clear, telling reporters gathered for a talk at the National Press Club that "no state can nullify a statute passed by Congress."
Pro-marijuana groups say Kerlikowske's speech provided more evidence they were winning.
"He spent a lot of time arguing against legalization and cloaking himself in our language," Bill Piper, director of national affairs of the Drug Policy Alliance in D.C., told Whispers. "He referred to himself and his allies as 'drug policy reformers,' which of course is our language... They're aware the drug policy reform movement is making big gains."
An April poll from the Pew Research Center found 60 percent of Americans don't want the federal government to enforce federal marijuana law in states where marijuana is now legal.
Last week, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., proposed his own solution: a bill that would protect marijuana users and business owners from federal prosecution as long as they were in compliance with state laws.
But while lawmakers and pot groups will continue to work on the issue, the most important decision on state pot laws is yet to come from the Department of Justice. Last month, Attorney General Eric Holder said the administration had not yet made up its mind but that a decision would come "relatively soon."