Merrick Garland’s Confirmation as Attorney General Offers Hope to Cannabis Industry

Cannabtimes

<![CDATA[ GarlandBy a vote of 70-30, the U.S. Senate today confirmed Merrick Garland to be U.S. attorney general. While, prior to his confirmation, the new attorney general had not been outspoken about cannabis, federal prosecution of marijuana-related crimes, or the federal-state divide over the legality of cannabis, Attorney General Garland did offer the state-legal cannabis industry in the U.S. reason for optimism during his recent confirmation hearings.Most notably, responding to a question from Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) concerning potentially reissuing the Cole Memorandum, then-Judge Garland, testified that he did not think it was a “useful use” of limited federal resources to prosecute most cannabis-related conduct:"This is a question of the prioritization of our resources and prosecutorial discretion. It does not seem to me a useful use of limited resources that we have, to be pursuing prosecutions in states that have legalized and that are regulating the use of marijuana, either medically or otherwise. I don’t think that’s a useful use."I do think we need to be sure there are no end-runs around the state laws that criminal enterprises are doing.  So that kind of enforcement should be continued. But I don’t think it’s a good use of our resources, where states have already authorized. That only confuses people, obviously, within the state."The Cole Memorandum was prepared in 2013 by then-Deputy U.S. Attorney General James M. Cole. It offered “Guidance Regarding Marijuana Enforcement,” identified several federal “enforcement priorities,” and provided that the federal government generally would refrain from prosecuting marijuana-related offenses unless they implicated one of those enforcement priorities. Notably, in a Feb. 22, 2021 article, “AG Nominee Garland Supports Pot Prosecution Pullback,” Law360 observed: “Judge Garland was careful not to say he would reinstate the memo specifically, saying he didn’t have all its tenets in mind at that very moment.  But…

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