Attorney General Prefers Marijuana Reform Bill to Current Federal Law – Do You?
Should states be allowed to legalize marijuana?
What’s the story?
- Attorney General William Barr told the Senate Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday that he supports a ban on marijuana across the U.S., but if there’s “not sufficient consensus to obtain that, then I think the way to go is to permit a more federal approach so states can make their own decisions within the framework of the federal law.”
- Barr signaled that he’d be open to the approach outlined in the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, a bipartisan bill re-introduced last week that would exempt states that have legalized marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act.
What did Barr say at the testimony?
- “Personally, I would still favor one uniform federal rule against marijuana,” Barr said during the hearing Wednesday. “But if there’s not sufficient consensus to obtain that, then I think the way to go is to permit a more federal approach so states can make their own decisions within the framework of a federal law so we’re not just ignoring the enforcement of federal law.”
- Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) asked Barr whether the Justice Department would restore the Cole Memo if Congress can’t reach a compromise on legislation. The Cole Memo was an Obama-era memo that protected state-legal cannabis businesses. Former AG Jeff Sessions rescinded the memo.
- “We’re going to have to make some difficult choices,” Barr answered. “One open question in my mind is, if states continue to pass these laws, are we going to continue to forbear (enforcement of federal law) in those states? I would like to see Congress address this issue.”
- Schatz asked Barr if he’s provided any guidance to the Justice Department.
The DOJ is “operating under my general guidance that I’m accepting the Cole Memorandum for now, but I’ve generally left it up to the U.S. Attorneys in each state to determine what the best approach is. I haven’t heard any complaints from the states that have legalized marijuana.”
What do you think?
Do you favor the STATES Act? Or would you “favor one uniform federal rule against marijuana”? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.
(Photo Credit: istockphoto.com / 400tmax)
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