Nominee Lawyer Common: Marijuana Enforcement Not “Greatest Use” of Sources

In the recently published Questions for the Protocol (QFRs) to Judge Merrick Garland by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, several inquiries regarding the federal prohibition and criminalization of cannabis were made and answered.

By and large, Garland reiterated and expanded on what he said in the hearing last week when he indicated that under his direction, the Justice Department is unlikely to get involved in states where cannabis is legal – a policy first adopted by the Obama administration, but later outlined was repealed in 2018 by the former AG Jeff Sessions.

In the QFRs there were a number of cannabis questions from Senator Chuck Grassley:

on. Under your leadership, how will you manage federal law enforcement by the Department of Justice in states that have legalized marijuana?
ANSWER: As I suggested at my hearing, I don’t think it’s the best use of the
The Ministry’s limited resources to prosecute those who comply with the Ministry’s regulations
Laws in states that have legalized and effectively regulate marijuana. I think we
need to be sure, for example, that there is no end for criminals to circumvent state laws
Companies, and this access is prohibited to minors.

b. What role is the Justice Department playing in the changing landscape of legalization, decriminalization, and recreational marijuana use?
ANSWER: The Ministry of Justice has not made any resources available in the past
Persecution of people for simple possession of marijuana. As I suggested at my hearing, I have
I don’t think it is the best use of the ministry’s limited resources to prosecute prosecutors
those who obey the laws in states that have legalized and are effective
Regulate marijuana. I think we have to be sure, for example, that there is no end
runs around the state laws of criminal corporations, and this access is prohibited to minors.

c. Do you support efforts to decriminalize or legalize marijuana?
ANSWER: As I said at my hearing, the criminalization of marijuana use contributed to this
to mass incarceration and racial differences in our criminal justice system and has done it
For millions of Americans, criminal records for nonviolent offenses make it difficult to find employment.

Above all, a question that reflected an inconsistency regarding President Joe Biden’s marijuana position (NORML pointed this out in July 2020 when the Unity Platform was published):

e. While opposed to legalizing marijuana, Biden supports decriminalization of possession and expulsion of marijuana offenses. Do you see contradictions in President Biden’s vision of upholding the drug’s nationwide illegal status while decriminalizing the possession of minors and deleting previous conviction files?
ANSWER: As I testified at my hearing, it is important to turn our attention to violence
Crimes and other crimes that seriously threaten our society, and prosecution for simple
Marijuana possession is not an effective use of limited resources. As I have testified, we have seen various treatments in these law enforcement operations that have been harmful to people
and color communities, including restricted employment opportunities and social and social
economic instability.

In all respects, Judge Garland’s responses suggest that he has no intention of curbing advances in regulation and consumer access to cannabis, and for that we can breathe a sigh of relief.

Much remains to be done, but for the first time in over four years, proponents of ending federal marijuana criminalization no longer have an active opponent running the Justice Department.

As always, contact your legislator and ask them to support the upcoming reform efforts through our action center: https://norml.org/act

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