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Feds Shouldn’t Waste Resources On Marijuana Enforcement In Legal States, Biden AG Pick Says

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Best Online Weed Dispensary.Publish

 6 hours ago 

on February 22, 2021

ByKyle Jaeger

President Joe Biden’s pick

for attorney general said on Monday

during his confirmation hearing before the

that it is not “a useful use of limit

during his confirmation hearing before the

resources” to go after people who are

during his confirmation hearing before the

complying with state marijuana laws.

He also citied cannabis enforcement as

an example of the racially discriminatory

during his confirmation hearing before the

impact of the criminal justice system.

during his confirmation hearing before the

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Judge Merrick Garland, whose views on

marijuana policy have been largely

unclear to date, say that the issue is “a

question of prioritization about

resources and discretion,” and he

signal that the Justice Department

would adopt a hands-off policy for most

cannabis cases, similar to what was

implement under President Barack Obama,

if he was confirm.

“It does not seem to me useful

the use of limited resources that we have

to be pursuing prosecutions in states that

have legalized and are regulating the use

of marijuana, either medically or otherwise,

” he say when asked by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)

during his confirmation hearing before the

Senate Judiciary Committee. “I don’t think

during his confirmation hearing before the

that’s a useful use.”

“I do think we need to be sure that there are

no end runs around the state laws that criminal

during his confirmation hearing before the

enterprises are doing. That kind of enforcement

during his confirmation hearing before the

should be continue,” he say. “But I don’t think

during his confirmation hearing before the

it’s a good use of our resources where states

have already authorized, and it only confuses

people obviously within the state.”

That view is consistent with policies put into

place under Obama—know as the Cole

memorandum—and then

 rescinded by President Donald Trump’s first attorney general,

Jeff Sessions.

Watch Garland’s comments on

marijuana policy below:https://

www.c-span.org/video/standalone/?

c4947552/user-clip-garland-talks-marijuana-laws

Garland also say earlier

in the hearing that he thinks the enforcement

of marijuana criminalization is the “perfect

example” of how the criminal justice

system is racially bias and

disproportionately impacts communities

of color. And because cannabis possession

arrests can “follow a person for the rest

of their lives,” he said the Justice

Department should avoid prosecuting those cases.

He proactively returned to the issue

after it was first raise by Booker and

preview actions the Justice Department

could take to resolve such systemic problems.

“One of the big things driving arrests in

our country—stunningly to me even that

it is still the case—is marijuana arrests.

We had in 2019 more marijuana arrests

for possession than all violent crime arrests

combine,” Booker said, adding that those

arrests fall disparately on black and brown

Americans despite the fact that white

people use cannabis at a comparable rate.

“Is that evidence that

within the system there is implicit racial bias?”

Booker, who is part of a trio of lawmakers

 leading the charge to enact federal legalization in the Senate,

ask.

“That’s definitely evidence of a disparate

during his confirmation hearing before the

treatment in the system, which I think does

during his confirmation hearing before the

arise out of implicit bias—unconscious bias

during his confirmation hearing before the

maybe, sometimes conscious bias,” Garland

say. “This is a particular part of the reason

why, at this moment, I think I wanted to

be the attorney general.”

Booker picked up on Garland’s point about

implicit bias and reiterate that just because

there are racial disparities in the justice

system doesn’t necessarily meant that those

carrying out enforcement are overtly racist.

The Biden nominee replied that “that’s

correct” and the “marijuana example is a

perfect example that you’ve given here.”

“Here’s a non-violent crime

with respect to usage that does not require us to incarcerate people, and we’re incarcerating at significantly different rates of the different communities,” Garland said. “That is wrong, and it’s the kind of problem that will then follow a person for the rest of their lives. It will make it impossible to get a job, it will lead to downward economic spiral for their family.”during his confirmation hearing before the

Watch Garland’s additional comments on cannabis policy below:https://www.c-span.org/video/standalone/?c4947521/user-clip-booker-presses-garland-marijuana-policy

during his confirmation hearing before the

“If you just look at the

impact of the law and the disparate impact on just marijuana, it is estimate to cost African-American communities in this country billions of dollars more,” Booker, who was recently named chair of a key Judiciary subcommittee, follow up. “My question to you now is, assuming this position…what are you going to do about this outrageous injustice that persists and infects our society with such a toll on black and brown communities?”Best Online Weed Dispensary

during his confirmation hearing before the

Garland say that there

are “many things that the Justice Department has to do in this regard” and one of those things is “we can focus our attention on violent crimes and other crimes that put great danger in our society, and not allocate our resources to something like marijuana possession.”

He added that prosecutors could further mitigate mass incarceration by reviewing and revising sentencing standards so that people don’t face the maximum punishment for certain crimes.

Also at the hearing, Garland revisited the idea of deprioritizing enforcement against cannabis possession after being press on ensuring racial equity in the justice system by Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA).

He say “one important

way [to achieve equity] is to focus on the crimes that really matter—to bring our charging and our arresting on violent crime and others that deeply affect our society and not have such an overemphasis on marijuana possession, for example, which has disproportionately affected communities of color and then damaged them after the original arrest because of the inability to get jobs.”

during his confirmation hearing before the

Watch the discussion between Ossoff and Garland below: https://www.c-span.org/video/standalone/?c4947526/user-clip-garland-ossoff-talk-marijuana.Best Online Weed Dispensary

The nominee reiterate the sentencing reform should also be part of the solution, and that includes resolving the crack-to-powder sentencing disparity for cocaine, which “has had an enormously disproportionate impact on communities of color, but which evidence shows is not related to the dangerousness of the two drugs.”

While Sessions took actions on marijuana policy that are view as hostile by advocates, Trump’s second attorney general, William Barr, maintained that Congress should take steps to resolve the state-federal marijuana policy conflict. But he did not make any definitive statements about the need to shift gears administratively, nor did he dedicate time while in office to recognize the racial disparities of cannabis enforcement.

Barr did allegedly direct

the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division to carry out investigations into 10 marijuana mergers out of personal animus for the industry. A whistleblower who testify before a key House committee claim the investigations were unnecessary and wasted departmental resources. But the assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division later argue that the investigations were actually “consistent with protecting consumers’ access to cannabis products, not with animosity toward the industry.”

Garland, who was previously nominate by Obama to serve on the Supreme Court only to have his nomination blocked by Senate Republicans, was relatively silent on the issue prior to the confirmation hearing. His judicial record did indicate that he believes in deference to the Drug Enforcement Administration when it comes to drug scheduling, raising initial concerns among advocates.

But while his broader

enforcement position remains to be seen, Garland did clearly express on Monday that he feels the federal government should generally not waste departmental resources to interfere in state-legal markets and that the lowest level cannabis offenses should not justify incarcerating individuals.

It now seems apparent that he and Biden are principally align on those matter, supporting decriminalization and non-interference in state cannabis programs, as the president called for during his campaign.

Biden also supports legalizing medical marijuana, modestly rescheduling the plant and expunging prior cannabis convictions. He remains opposed to adult-use legalization, however, despite supermajority support for the policy change within his party.

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