Attorney General Nominee Promises Legal Cannabis Companies Safety

January 29, 2019

President Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, William Barr, stated in his confirmation hearing that he would not go after cannabis companies that were compliant with state laws. In a recent letter in response to written questions from various senators, Barr has put that statement in writing.

President Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, William Barr, stated in his confirmation hearing that he would not go after cannabis companies that were compliant with state laws. In a recent letter in response to written questions from various senators (1,2), Barr has put that statement in writing.

"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. The Cole Memorandum, which generally directed federal prosecutors not to interfere with state cannabis laws, was an Obama-era cannabis enforcement guidance that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded last year. According to an article by Forbes.com (2), Barr isn't committing to formally replacing the Cole Memorandum 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 Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). "If confirmed, I will give the matter careful consideration."

Barr also said that he supports expanding the number of institutions that are allowed to grow cannabis for scientific research. "I support the expansion of marijuana manufacturers for scientific research consistent with law," he wrote in response to a question from Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA). "If confirmed, I will review the matter and take appropriate steps."

Barr made additional comments about looking into the medical and scientific studies surrounding cannabidiol (CBD). For more information, please read the article on Forbes.com.

References:

  1. https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Barr%20Responses%20to%20QFRs.pdf
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomangell/2019/01/28/trump-attorney-general-pick-puts-marijuana-enforcement-pledge-in-writing/#b0acca154350