AG Nominee Merrick Garland Signals Hands-Off Policy For State-Legal Pot

Judge Merrick Garland, President Biden’s pick for U.S. Attorney General, has indicated a reluctance to prosecute cannabis activities that are legal under state law in hearings with senators tasked with weighing his appointment. Biden nominated Garland, currently chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, to the nation’s highest law enforcement position on January 7.

Garland’s nomination is currently being considered by the U.S. Senate, which has the power to confirm or reject the appointment of the president’s cabinet members and other high-ranking executive branch officials. In a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Garland said that under his leadership, the Department of Justice would concentrate on violations of federal law more serious than minor cannabis offenses.

“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,” Garland said.

Grassley Grills Garland

Several questions regarding cannabis policy were asked by Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee. In response to a question from Grassley regarding how he would navigate the Justice Department’s enforcement of federal law in states that have legalized marijuana,

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