CA taps MJ rescheduling advocate Holder for potential Trump battles

Should a Donald Trump administration try to interfere with states that have legalized recreational cannabis, California will be ready.

The California Legislature on Wednesday drafted President Obama’s former attorney general, Eric Holder, to represent the state in any legal battles it may have with a Trump administration, The New York Times reported.

The Times did not say specifically that Holder was hired to defend California’s legal cannabis industry. But that very well could become one of his tasks considering Trump has nominated Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, an ardent anti-marijuana prohibitionist, to be attorney general.

And while Trump supports medical marijuana programs and states’ rights, he has described recreational marijuana as “bad.” How these conflicting views will manifest themselves in policy remains to be seen.

Holder served as attorney general between 2009-2015, and it was under his watch in 2013 that the Department of Justice released the Cole Memo. The memo essentially instructed federal officials not to prosecute marijuana businesses in legalized states as long as they didn’t violate certain provisions, such as not selling cannabis to minors or diverting product to the underground market or states without legalized cannabis.

And last February, Holder said on the PBS program Frontline he believes cannabis should be removed from the federal government’s list of Schedule 1 prohibited drugs.

“I certainly think it ought to be rescheduled,” Holder said. “You know, we treat marijuana in the same way that we treat heroin now, and that clearly is not appropriate.”