US AG behind marijuana reform

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Attorney General Barr thinks the federal government is complicating the issue

Wouldn’t it be nice if the federal government could step up and make a final decision on marijuana reform? Lawmakers repeatedly argue that there are too many moving parts for a swift decision, but it doesn’t have to be that difficult. The new U.S. Attorney General, William Barr, offers a solution and it seems pretty straightforward – let the states take care of themselves.

Barr said yesterday that he would like to see Congress create legislation that would allow states to legalize marijuana, instead of going the route of ending cannabis prohibition in conflict with federal law. He asserts that the Justice Department is now considering legislation that would allow this to happen and said during a Senate appropriations hearing yesterday, “The situation that I think is intolerable and which I’m opposed to is the current situation we’re in, and I would prefer one of two approaches rather than where we are. Personally, I would still favor one uniform federal rule against marijuana but, if there is not sufficient consensus to obtain that, then I think the way to go is to permit a more federal approach so states can make their own decisions within the framework of the federal law and so we’re not just ignoring the enforcement of federal law.”

Barr’s comments are a reflection of what is being attempted in the STATES Act, Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States. That is a bipartisan bill introduced last week and Barr asserts that the Justice Department is now preparing comments internally. He adds, “Once we get those comments, we’ll be able to work with you on any concerns about the STATES law, but I would much rather that approach—the approach taken by the STATES Act—than where we currently are.”