DOJ Still Working On Biden Admin’s Stance on Cannabis, Garland SaysMarch 7, 2023
Attorney General Merrick Garland told lawmakers that his agency is “still working on a marijuana policy” amid reviews of cannabis’s status as a schedule I drug. Speaking to the Senate Judiciary Committee and responding to a question from legalization advocate Cory Booker, Garland said, “I think that it’s fair to expect what I said at my confirmation hearing with respect to marijuana and policy, that it will be very close to what was done in the Cole Memorandum.” The Cole memo was an Obama-era policy that articulated a hands-off approach—that federal law enforcement would leave state-level legal markets to their own devices, despite their contradiction with federal law.
Garland has been highly consistent in his comments on the matter, not committing to any kind of concrete reform while promising to maintain the status quo for state legalization. He said during his confirmation hearings that putting DOJ resources into interfering with legal state markets was not “a useful use of limited resources,” and has used similar phrasing numerous times since.
Meanwhile, Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon has been circulating a letter for signatures that calls on Garland and Health and Human Services secretary Xavier Becerra to be transparent in their cannabis policy decision-making. “To ensure accountability in your conclusions—which has been absent in so much of the history of federal marijuana regulation—transparency is key,” Blumenauer’s draft letter says. “We urge you to make available for public review and comment any evidence cited to demonstrate marijuana is more prone to drug abuse than descheduled substances already regulated at the state level.”—Danny SullivanSubscribe to Shanken News Daily’s Email Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each morning. You will also receive the Cannabis edition as part of your subscription.
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