AG nominee speaks up on marijuana

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William Barr doesn’t like marijuana, but wants Congress to pick up the pace on regulations

During his confirmation hearing yesterday, the Trump nominee for the country’s next Attorney General (AG), William Barr, was given a platform to talk about the role marijuana plays in society and how it might be regulated in the future. Unlike Jeff Sessions, the former AG, seems to be more amenable to the idea of allowing marijuana and said that he would not utilize resources to attack marijuana companies that operate in accordance with guidelines that were in place in the Department of Justice before being rescinded by Sessions prior to his exit. He also asserted his belief that state and federal governments need to find common ground in addressing marijuana policies.

Last year, Sessions revoked the Cole memorandum, a memo that covered federal marijuana enforcement priorities. In discussing the memo, Barr stated, “My approach to this would be not to upset expectation and the reliant interests that have arisen of the Cole memorandum. However, I think the current situation is untenable and really has to be addressed. It’s almost like a backdoor nullification of federal law.”

Despite showing a certain flexibility for marijuana, Barr is evidently against approval of cannabis on the federal level. He stated, “[W]e either should have a federal law that prohibits marijuana everywhere, which I would support myself because I think it’s a mistake to back off marijuana. However, if we want a federal approach – if we want states to have their own laws – then let’s get there and get there in the right way.”

Barr seems to be for a federal decision on the subject of marijuana, but personally against allowing consumption. It appears, unlike was seen with Sessions, that he has a solid understanding of how to approach law enforcement without letting his personal views get in the way.