President Donald Trump said on Friday that he plans to nominate William Barr to replace Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general. For advocates, at least it’s not the guy who said, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
In fact, President Trump has signaled his support for moving away from a prohibitionist era. Asking Sessions to resign was further proof that President Trump would like to see a softer stance when it comes to federal cannabis enforcement. While Barr has a checkered past when it comes to cannabis policy, he seems less openly hostile to marijuana compared to other potential nominees whose names were floated — like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who pledged to crack down on state-legal cannabis activity during his failed 2016 presidential bid.
….and one of the most highly respected lawyers and legal minds in the Country, he will be a great addition to our team. I look forward to having him join our very successful Administration!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2018
Michael Collins, director of national drug affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, said, “The vast majority of Americans believe the war on drugs needs to be replaced with a health-centered approach. It is critically important that the next Attorney General be committed to defending basic rights and moving away from failed drug war policies.”
Today’s drug policy landscape is a lot different than it was in the early 1990s, though, and it’s yet to be seen how Barr, if confirmed by the Senate, will navigate conflicting state and federal marijuana laws. He has a chance to right the wrongs of his predecessor who decided to no longer operate under an Obama-era policy of general non-intervention, after Sessions moved this year to rescind the so-called Cole memo that provided guidance on federal cannabis enforcement.
Given Trump’s comments supporting leaving marijuana decisions up to individual states, there remains hope that Barr will take a new, more understanding approach governing the cannabis industry.
Source: Marijuana Moment: https://www.marijuanamoment.net/where-trumps-pick-for-attorney-general-stands-on-drug-policy/