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Attorney General nominee William Barr has confirmed in writing the comments he made during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing that he would not crack down on state-legal cannabis.
Barr reiterated that public testimony in a subsequent series of written responses to senators' questions.
Since President Trump took office in January 2017, there has not been a single federal enforcement action against the US cannabis industry. President Trump has made only favorable remarks about federal cannabis policy. During the 2016 campaign, asked by a Colorado reporter whether he would enforce the federal ban on cannabis in states that had legalized, he said: “I wouldn’t do that, no…I think it’s up to the states yeah, I’m a States person.
Could Attorney General Jeff Sessions be fired?
However, this cloudy picture didn't stop pot stocks from steaming to big gains late last week after the feud between President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions escalated to new levels. In an interview with The Hill, Trump said, "I don't have an attorney general. It's very sad."
It's the problem faced by every single marijuana dispensary in the nine states that already sell marijuana for recreational purposes.
The fact is, "legal weed" isn't entirely legal. And if New Jersey legalizes marijuana, it will come with unique challenges — and solutions — for those looking to find success in cannabis.
The U.S. Department of Justice still considers marijuana a "Schedule 1" drug, a classification that indicates it has no medicinal value, despite 29 states having some kind of medical marijuana program.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Friday that he missed the invite to recent meetings between President Donald Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) concerning marijuana legislation.
In an interview with Colorado Public Radio, the top cop at the Justice Department was asked whether he was involved in conversations between Trump and Gardner, during which the president reportedly voiced support for legislative efforts to protect states that have legalized from federal interference.
Several factors may be at play. Federal marijuana cases have dropped almost 50 percent since 2013—the same year that former U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole issued a memorandum, colloquially known as the “Cole memo,” to federal prosecutors on marijuana enforcement priorities. The document has generally been interpreted as a message to U.S. attorneys not to prosecute people complying with state cannabis laws.
While the language in the new budget didn't go so far as to protect the use of cannabis beyond medical purposes, the Department of Justice hasn't had that restriction imposed on it since Jeff Sessions took the helm over a year ago. Further, the inclusion of the amendment is a powerful signal that Congress supports the rights of states to regulate and tax cannabis, suggesting that any attempts to interfere at all by the Department of Justice would face political backlash.