Quantcast
Connect with us

US attorney general nominee will not target marijuana businesses

Published

on

President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday he disagreed with a decision by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reverse a policy that eased federal enforcement of marijuana laws, saying it sowed confusion in the marketplace and harmed businesses that had invested money.

“My approach to this would be to not upset settled expectations,” Barr told the Senate Judiciary Committee in his confirmation hearing, adding that if confirmed, he will “not go after companies” that had relied on the Obama-era guidance that Sessions later rescinded.

ADVERTISEMENT

Barr’s comments are likely to bring some relief to burgeoning marijuana economies in states like California, which were thrown for a loop last year when Sessions abruptly withdrew guidance written in 2013 by then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole.

That guidance, known as the “Cole Memo,” still recognized marijuana as a “dangerous drug” that is illegal under federal law. However, it instructed prosecutors not to prioritize enforcing federal marijuana laws in states or localities that authorized various uses of the drug and effectively regulate and police it.

Session’s abrupt announcement last January caught banks off guard about how they could continue doing business with marijuana growers and sellers, prompting many to flood the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) with phone calls seeking guidance.

FinCEN had previously released its own parallel guidance on how banks could do business with the cannabis industry without running afoul of federal anti-money laundering rules.

ADVERTISEMENT

Reuters reported a year ago that the Justice Department did not alert FinCEN about its change to the marijuana policy before it was announced.

Sessions was a staunch marijuana opponent, and once said in a speech that he believed it was helping fuel the opioid crisis by serving as a gateway drug.

Barr told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that he personally opposes pot, but felt the best long-term solution to addressing disparate state and federal rules was for Congress to come up with a plan.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I think it’s a mistake to back off on marijuana,” he said.

“However, if we want a federal approach, if we want states to have their own laws, then let’s get there,” Barr said.

Asked about Barr’s comments, Saphira Galoob, a federal cannabis lobbyist, said, “It is a positive sign that … Barr recognizes and acknowledges the country’s will for a regulated cannabis marketplace – and that a majority of Americans clearly support respecting states and protecting patients.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; editing by Jonathan Oatis


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Ex-AG Matt Whitaker ‘pretty much acknowledges abuse of power’ in Fox News interview

Published

on

The former acting Attorney General of the United States argued that presidential abuse of power is not a crime during a Tuesday evening appearance on Fox News.

Abuse of power is not a crime,” Matt Whitaker told Fox News personality Laura Ingraham.

Tufts University Professor Daniel Drezner was fascinated by the admission.

"Interesting that Whitaker pretty much acknowledges abuse of power but doesn’t think it’s egregious," Drezner noted.

Continue Reading

2020 Election

‘Abuse of power is not a crime’: Former acting AG Matt Whitaker makes a brazen claim on Fox News

Published

on

Former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker told a Fox News audience that it is not a crime for President Donald Trump to abuse the power of his office.

Whitaker made the comments while complaining about "global elitists" during an interview with Laura Ingraham.

"What evidence of a crime do you have?" Whitaker asked, despite Trump, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and defense lawyer Rudy Giuliani all admitting Trump sought foreign election interference to help his struggling re-election campaign.

"Abuse of power is not a crime," the nation's former top law enforcement office argued.

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

Joe Biden apologizes for ‘partisan lynching’ comments about Bill Clinton’s impeachment

Published

on

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday apologized for comments he made saying impeachment could be viewed as a "partisan lynching."

The comments from a 1998 interview were reported after Biden said it was "abhorrent" and "despicable" for President Donald Trump to refer to impeachment as a lynching.

"Even if the President should be impeached, history is going to question whether or not this was just a partisan lynching or whether or not it was something that in fact met the standard, the very high bar, that was set by the founders as to what constituted an impeachable offense," Biden said in 1998.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image