U.S. Attorney General Reiterates That Marijuana Enforcement Wastes Department Resources, But Declines To Comment On Formal Guidance

U.S. Attorney General Reiterates That Marijuana Enforcement Wastes Department Resources, But Declines To Comment On Formal Guidance
MJ moment

The U.S. attorney general on Tuesday reiterated that he believes it is “not an efficient use” of federal resources to go after people for possessing marijuana. But he declined to directly answer a senator’s question on whether the Justice Department would be reinstating Obama-era enforcement guidance on not interfering with state cannabis programs that was rescinded during the Trump administration. Attorney General Merrick Garland was pressed on the issue at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), who asked the nation’s top prosecutor whether he intended to reissue guidance encouraging federal prosecutors to use discretion in cannabis cases in states that have legalized. “I laid this out in my confirmation hearing, and my view hasn’t really changed since then,” Garland replied. “The Justice Department has almost never prosecuted use of marijuana, and it’s not going to be.” Marijuana prosecutions are “not an efficient use of the resources given the opioid and methamphetamine epidemic that we have,” he said. To be sure, Garland said in oral and written testimony during his confirmation proceedings that the gist of the so-called Cole memo will continue to be followed and that prosecuting individuals over cannabis is a wasteful allocation of Justice Department resources. However, he did not directly answer the Schatz’s question about whether there were plans in the works to recodify that policy of discretionary enforcement, and the senator did not follow up to press the matter—saying that the attorney general’s initial reply was “good enough for me” before quickly pivoting to ask about other issues. While the federal government has generally taken a hands-off approach to state-level cannabis legalization efforts under recent administrations, both Democratic and Republican, advocates have been pushing for the reinstatement of the Cole memo as they continue their push for comprehensive federal reform. Garland’s reaffirmation…

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Source : U.S. Attorney General Reiterates That Marijuana Enforcement Wastes Department Resources, But Declines To Comment On Formal Guidance

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