AG Merrick Garland believes that rule of legislation hashish use is of little concern to the Justice Division
Biden Administration Attorney General Merrick Garland reiterated Tuesday that he believed that prosecuting individual cannabis users who are legally permitted to use marijuana products under state law would be a waste of resources for the Justice Department.
Garland’s comments came during a meeting of the Home Remedies Subcommittee on Tuesday where MP Mike Garcia (R-CA) asked Garland what action the DOJ could take to stop illegal cannabis breeders, many of whom are members of transnational organizations, who intimidate local residents and steal natural resources for their crops in his district of California.
Garland responded by saying, “The marijuana use department believes that enforcement is not a good use of our resources. And I understand you don’t talk about it. You speak of growth and production on a large scale. “
The attorney general continued, “It is likely not a good use of our resources when they are regulated by the state – and again I assume that you are not asking about them, to the extent that you are asking examples of large-volume transnational operations.” from Mexico or transnational operators who come to the US to promote growth are certainly our responsibility and our purview. “
Illegal cannabis cultivation in California
With the aim of Tuesday’s meeting of the House Funds Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Allied Agencies to focus on the Justice Department’s annual budget request, drug enforcement was part of the broader conversation. Rep. Garcia requested federal funding for DOJ officials to tour parts of California and see only the problems caused by illegal cultivators, particularly the legal cannabis industry.
A recent 2020 report shows that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has focused its efforts on eliminating illegal growers, even in states where cannabis is legal. And while data from these marijuana eradication programs shows that more illegal crops were seized (mostly in California) in 2020 compared to last year, seizures are significantly fewer than just a decade earlier.
All of this seems in line with AG Garland’s philosophy of how the Justice Department should prioritize marijuana use and cultivation processes in states where it is legal. In fact, throughout Garland’s verification process, he gave answers similar to those he gave to Rep. Garcia during the subcommittee meeting.
Biden Department of Justice and Marijuana Law Enforcement
“I don’t think it is the best use of the ministry’s limited resources to prosecute those who comply with the laws in states that have legalized and effectively regulate marijuana,” he previously stated. “I think we have to be sure, for example, that criminal companies are not circumventing state laws and that minors are not allowed to enter.”
Many are waiting to see if the Garland Justice Department will issue a new guide to cannabis law enforcement. As the wait for a federal response to an increasing number of states legalizing cannabis continues, one thing is certain: The Justice Department is moving away from the previous administration’s stance on marijuana use and is returning to policies under the Obama administration.
In a written testimony that Garland provided for confirmation prior to his hearing, he stated, “The criminalization of marijuana use has contributed to mass incarceration and racial differences in our criminal justice system … and has made it difficult for millions of Americans to find employment through crime on record . “
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