William Barr appears to be more relaxed on marijuana
President Trump wants William Barr to be the next Attorney General (AG), replacing interim AG Matthew G. Whitaker. While Whitaker may have been a positive choice for the marijuana industry, Barr isn’t too far behind and is certainly more open to the possibility of legalizing marijuana than his predecessor, Jeff Sessions, or any of the other candidates that were said to be considered for the position. Given the fact that Trump has already indicated that he wants to ease up on marijuana legislation, it seems logical that he would only select individuals that share the same sentiment.
Barr hasn’t come out publicly and asserted that he would support marijuana legislation. However, he has in the past shown to be anti-drugs. He previously served as the AG under George H. W. Bush, overseeing a number of harsh enforcement policies. he previously supported more jail time in an effort to combat drug use and helped to increase the federal drug control budget in an effort to achieve the goal. His viewpoint has more than likely changed in recent times, especially given the continued acceptance of marijuana across the country.
At least one person in the marijuana industry doesn’t believe he’s the best person to lead the charge for marijuana reform. The director of national drug affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, Michael Collins, said in a press release, “It’s hard to imagine an Attorney General as bad as Jeff Sessions when it comes to criminal justice and the drug war, but Trump seems to have found one. Nominating Barr totally undermines Trump’s recent endorsement of sentencing reform.”
Despite the assertion, Trump is known for aligning himself with those that share his opinions. Undoubtedly, he has held conversations with Barr on the subject and believes that he has found an ally that will support his initiatives. Given the alternatives, such as former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, he certainly seems to be the better choice.