The current nominee for the post of Attorney General, William Barr, said in his confirmation hearing that he “will not go after” cannabis businesses operating in states with legalization, The Associated Press reports.
Responding to questions posed by Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California), Barr referenced the Cole Memo, an Obama-era guidance for the Department of Justice that was rescinded last January by anti-cannabis former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. That document previously protected cannabis businesses in states that had legalized from federal interference. Since the memo’s cancellation, however, there was renewed uncertainty regarding federal intervention with state-legal markets.
Barr even admitted in the hearing that the “current system is untenable,” suggesting that Congress should pass legislation to address the disparity between state and federal laws.
“Mr. Barr is correct in acknowledging that many Americans rely on the legal cannabis industry and the successful state marijuana programs operating throughout the country today. His pledge not to use Department of Justice resources to undermine state laws provides assurance to over one hundred thousand cannabis industry employees, thousands of legal businesses, and the many state and local governments reliant upon marijuana tax revenue.” — Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, in a press release
Barr’s confirmation is still pending but, at this point, he is expected to be confirmed to the post.
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