Attorney General Eric Holder

Video: Attorney General Eric Holder is ‘cautiously optimistic’ on legal weed

“Cautiously optimistic” — that’s how outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder described his feelings on legal pot in the U.S.

And many in the still-fledgling industry will count that as a win, if only a minor one.

“I’d say I’m cautiously optimistic,” Holder told CNN on Monday. “I think that our focus on those deep priority areas that we outlined are still the appropriate way in which we should approach this problem. We don’t want to put into the federal system, low level people who are simply there for possessory offenses.”

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The “deep priority areas” are the eight enforcement areas Holder introduced in 2013, the standards to which the Justice Department is holding Colorado and Washington.

The somewhat optimistic Holder still hedged his bets on cannabis in the interview: “What I’ve told the governors of those states is that if we’re not satisfied with their regulatory scheme that we reserve the right to come in and to sue them. So we’ll see.”

Holder’s most recent pot comments came one month after he told Katie Couric that he was potentially open to the idea of rescheduling marijuana as a Schedule I substance.

“It’s certainly a question we need to ask ourselves, whether or not marijuana is as serious a drug as heroin,” Holder said in late-September (see the video). “Now (marijuana) can be destructive, if used in certain ways, but the question of whether or not (pot and heroin) should be in the same category is something that we need to ask ourselves — and use science as the basis for making that determination.”