AG nominee Barr voices hands-off approach to state-legal cannabis businesses

Attorney General nominee William Barr said during his Senate confirmation hearing that he would “not go after” state-legal marijuana programs if he is confirmed as President Trump’s next AG, a stance that drew praise from cannabis industry advocates.

Barr was known for his tough approach to drug offenders while serving as AG in the early 1990s, raising concerns among cannabis businesses on the heels of former AG Jeff Sessions’ tenure.

Sessions shook the MJ industry early last year by removing Obama-era protections for state-legal MJ businesses.

Barr said his Senate confirmation hearing he would respect state marijuana laws and businesses that have relied on the Obama-era Cole memorandum.

For his part, Sessions didn’t take much action against MJ businesses, but his mere threat had a chilling effect, especially in terms of discouraging banks from engaging with cannabis businesses, according to experts.

It should be noted that Barr also said in the Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday the “current system is untenable” and that he supports federal marijuana prohibition.

“We should have a federal law that prohibits marijuana everywhere, which I would support myself, because I think it’s a mistake to back off on marijuana,” Barr said, according to a CBS News live blog.

Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), praised Barr’s pledge not to use Justice Department resources to go after state-legal cannabis businesses.

“During the hearing, Barr stated that he supports federal marijuana prohibition even though he would continue the policy of nonenforcement, but was critical of the disparity between state and federal law, calling on Congress to pass legislation that would address this issue,” Smith said in a statement.

Smith added that NCIA would continue to work with lawmakers to resolve that disparity by supporting bills that would allow states to determine their own approach to marijuana without federal interference.

Sen. Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican, tweeted a similar sentiment.

– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily

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6 comments on “AG nominee Barr voices hands-off approach to state-legal cannabis businesses
    • Dan P. on

      Hes still one of the “old guard”,status quo govt employees. He still thinks of cannabis as “evil weed”. He is still tasked with enforcement of existinf federal law…as long as cannabis is schedule 1…he could come down hard on anyone who violates any of those laws. Don’t trust him. Remember the childrens story of the gingerbread man…

  1. Andy on

    Why has no one brought a Federal lawsuit regarding legalization based on the vagrant denial of states’ rights to trade with other states as established in the Inter-State Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution ?

  2. wolf on

    Doesn’t seem to be a problem in Canada 3 months legal. Have not heard one negative thing besides not enough places to buy it. Plus all the health benefits. People with bad livers and cancer medicate with weed gain weight and live longer. So many benefits and Doctors rather give scripts for weed and or weed products rather than opioids. Plus tax dollars a win win for everyone. Plus trusted quality weed supply by reputable companies. Not your street dealer junk for same price.

  3. Ray Kaye on

    Cannabis activists need to convince Barr to approve first CBD in all its forms and then, once that’s established, the Justice Dept. should remove both criminality &
    Violation for selling, buying, possessing and using THC extract, marijuana, with guided regulation.

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