The U.S. Senate voted 54-45 on Thursday to confirm President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, William Barr, installing a Justice Department veteran as the nation’s top law enforcement official.
During his confirmation hearings, Barr – who previously served as attorney general from 1991-1993 and was known for his tough approach to drug offenders – said he would “not go after” state-legal cannabis businesses if confirmed as the head of the Department of Justice.
Whether Barr chooses a different approach to the cannabis industry than his anti-marijuana predecessor, Jeff Sessions, remains to be seen.
Barr would be able to prosecute recreational marijuana businesses across the country. But the Joyce Amendment – formerly known as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment – prohibits the DOJ from prosecuting state-legal medical marijuana companies.
In November, President Donald Trump fired Sessions and installed Matthew Whittaker as a temporary replacement. Whittaker had been Sessions’ chief of staff.