AG Pick Puts MJ Enforcement Pledge In Writing
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AG Pick Puts MJ Enforcement Pledge In Writing
Posted by CN Staff on January 28, 2019 at 15:20:44 PT
By Tom Angell, Contributor
Source: Forbes
Washington, D.C. -- William Barr, President Trump's nominee to serve as the next U.S. attorney general, made headlines earlier this month when he pledged during his Senate confirmation hearing not to "go after" marijuana companies that comply with state laws.Now, in response to written questions from senators, Barr is putting that pledge on paper, in black and white. He's also calling for the approval of more legal growers of marijuana for research, and is acknowledging that a recent bill legalizing hemp has broad implications for sale of cannabis products.
"As discussed at my hearing, I do not intend to go after parties who have complied with state law in reliance on the Cole Memorandum," he wrote, referring to Obama-era cannabis enforcement guidance that then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded last year.That said, Barr isn't committing to formally replacing the Cole Memo, which generally directed federal prosecutors not to interfere with state marijuana laws, with new guidance reiterating the approach."I have not closely considered or determined whether further administrative guidance would be appropriate following the Cole Memorandum and the January 2018 memorandum from Attorney General Sessions, or what such guidance might look like," he wrote in response to a question from Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). "If confirmed, I will give the matter careful consideration."And Barr, who previously served as attorney general under President George H. W. Bush, says it would be even better if Congress got around to addressing the growing gap between state and federal marijuana laws."I still believe that the legislative process, rather than administrative guidance, is ultimately the right way to resolve whether and how to legalize marijuana," he wrote in a compilation of responses delivered to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sunday.But even as Barr reiterated that he wouldn't go after people and businesses that benefited from the Cole memo, he voiced criticism of policy directives like it and of the idea of legalization in general."An approach based solely on executive discretion fails to provide the certainty and predictability that regulated parties deserve and threatens to undermine the rule of law," Barr wrote in response to a question from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). "If confirmed, I can commit to working with the Committee and the rest of Congress on these issues, including any specific legislative proposals. As I have said, however, I do not support the wholesale legalization of marijuana."Nonetheless, legalization advocates were happy to see the nominee reiterating his non-enforcement pledge when it comes to state-legal businesses."Itís positive to see Barr make the same commitments on marijuana enforcement in writing as he did in the hearings," Michael Collins, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, said. "My hope is that he sends this message to all federal prosecutors so that states are given space to reform their outdated, broken, racist marijuana laws, and the country can turn the page on prohibition."Elsewhere in the 247-page document, Barr says that he supports expanding the number of institutions that are allowed to grow marijuana to be used in scientific research."I support the expansion of marijuana manufacturers for scientific research consistent with law," he wrote in response to a question from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA). "If confirmed, I will review the matter and take appropriate steps."A single facility at the University of Mississippi has for half a century maintained a monopoly on the cultivation of cannabis for research, but due to concerns about the availability and quality of its products, the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2016 announced a process to license additional manufacturers. However, under Sessions, the Department of Justice has blocked the agency from acting on any of the several dozen applications it has received from would-be growers."I am not familiar with the details of these applications or the status of their review," Barr wrote. "If confirmed, I can commit to reviewing the matter."Barr also acknowledged that, due to the passage of the Farm Bill and its hemp legalization provisions late last year, hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) and other components and products made from low-THC cannabis plants are legally distinct from those that come from marijuana."Products derived from hemp, including CBD, are therefore subject to different legal and regulatory restrictions than those derived from non-hemp marijuana plants under certain circumstances," he wrote.He also pledged to "look into" pending medical and scientific evaluations of CBD, which could lead to its formal rescheduling under the Controlled Substances Act.All told, the cannabis comments indicate that if Barr is confirmed by the Senate, the Justice Department would be poised to take a very different approach to marijuana issues than it did under Sessions, who has long been a vocal legalization opponent."After decades of failed drug war, itís difficult to grasp the progress weíve made in just the past couple of years. From a hawkish attorney general who sent a chill through the industry and threatened to escalate enforcement to a nominee who put his hands-off federalist approach to prohibition in writing," said Don Murphy, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. "William Barr didnít just wave the white flag, he signed a peace agreement."NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said Barr is "incredibly wise to acknowledge that the genie is out of the bottle when it comes to the marijuana reform movement.""Now is the time for the Department of Justice to work in good faith with the Senate Judiciary Committee on legislative solutions that address the senseless waste of law enforcement's precious time and resources due to the failed federal policy of prohibition," he said.Tom Angell publishes Marijuana Moment news and founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Source: Forbes Magazine (US)Author: Tom Angell, ContributorPublished: January 28, 2019Copyright: 2019 Forbes Media LLCContact: readers forbes.comWebsite:  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on February 05, 2019 at 16:20:17 PT
"What kind of people believe it is worth hundreds of lives to support cannabis prohibition?"I've asked myself that often.First of all. Often someone they know or love has overdosed on heroin. They believe with all their belief that cannabis leads to the worst kind of heroin. They "Saw" it and they will swear to it.Somehow, they are completely oblivious to the fact that all these prohibitions and black markets created by the prohibitions, did more harm to their loved ones and their issues, if any, than a regulated, observable system might have. But they have people to blame and to punish. And more shaming to do. Don't forget the shaming.Some of them have their lives financially staked in legal and illegal narcotics and "Narcotics". Some of them find it an exciting life and life style. Some are just generally haters and despisers of others. Give them any kind of reason and they're dispising on someone. They hate everyone and disrespect life. They might care about their own but no one else.And the fearful. Oh my gosh. To calm the fearful! That's not easily done. The voices of fear can easily drown out the voices of reason and even sometimes, as we've seen, common sanity.All those who don't care because it has nothing to do with them. They don't care at all about the people who died, were robbed, or imprisoned.And the controllers and it's the law right or wrong folk. There are differing opinions on all that and my post is already too long.
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Comment #8 posted by afterburner on February 04, 2019 at 08:46:01 PT
Tested Medical Cannabis from the Holy Land
Feb 3, 2019,8:32 am.
After A Decade Of Testing, Israeli Medical Cannabis Comes To The US.
Julie Weed, Contributor.
I cover the legal marijuana industry and its entrepreneurs
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on February 03, 2019 at 13:23:20 PT
My Thoughts
As I watch those running or considering running in 2020 I think Marijuana Legalization will be an important issue to make a stand on and why. It will separate folks running quickly and all we need to do is watch the polls and watch it happen in real time finally I believe.
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Comment #6 posted by John Tyler on February 03, 2019 at 12:49:50 PT
Re #5
Didnít it also say somewhere in that article that 96% of cannabis arrests were nonwhite?
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on February 03, 2019 at 05:59:19 PT
Baltimore State's Attorney Will No Longer Prosecute Marijuana Possession Cases"Instead of marijuana, Mosby asserted that resources should be used to police and prosecute Baltimore's growing homicide rate.For the past three years, Baltimore residents have seen almost one killing per day. In 2018, there were 309 homicides."-0-And so the ? I ask is if putting those resources toward lowering their murder rates helps, then is the state liable for countless murders due to maintaining a failed policy not only arguably illegal and immoral but further, against citizens wishes?-Even just acknowledging the thought should / could create liability.--What kind of people believe it is worth hundreds of lives to support cannabis prohibition?And how long till the remainder of states come to their senses? Fed's come to their responsibility? 
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on February 01, 2019 at 16:34:56 PT
Lots of contenders throwing their hat in the ring.
At this point, I'm partial to Senator Cory Booker.Cory Booker kicked off his 2020 presidential campaign by calling for legal marijuana
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on February 01, 2019 at 15:10:10 PT
More commonsense happening.
If a person needs to fight the opiate thing... cannabis can help. It might not be useful to everyone but I think it can help some people. Opioid-alternative program begins processing medical-marijuana applications
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Comment #2 posted by John Tyler on January 31, 2019 at 08:45:02 PT
some common sense
Finally some common sense is emerging in the cannabis market.San Franciscoís 420 in the Park Festival will allow open cannabis usage. Like it used to be before legalization. is thinking about reducing the cannabis tax so it can compete with the ďgray marketĒ. is common sense so uncommon?
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Comment #1 posted by John Tyler on January 30, 2019 at 08:29:45 PT
$24 Million in First Two Months
That's nice, 
but Massachusetts has already raked in Almost $24 Million in first two months of Legal Cannabis. million in first 5 daysSales of legal cannabis have been strong in Massachusetts from the beginning. In just the first five days of legalization, the only two dispensaries that had opened at the time sold more than $2 million in cannabis goods.Note to other states on the East Coast cannabis relegalization is going to be big. You can do better than that 1930ís mindset. Donít be left behind. You can make way more money with relegalization than you can with prohibition.
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