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President-elect, Joe Biden let it leak that Merrick Garland will be his pick for US Attorney General. This came as no surprise after the Democrats gained control of the US Senate in the Georgia run-off election.
This position if confirmed will put Garland in charge of carving federal cannabis policy when it comes to enforcement.
With half of the country living in a legalized side of the law as regards cannabis and the other half under prohibition, there is no denying that the issue has reached a crossroad.
The most recent Pew and Gallup polls indicate that a higher percentage of Americans support the legalization of marijuana for adults and with the increasing number of Democrats holding majority positions in both houses of Congress, the passage of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act looks to become a possibility.
President-elect Biden who officially opposes the legalization of marijuana holds many in suspense as to the possibility of him vetoing popular legislation passed by his own party.
Where does this leave the possible attorney general? As a federal prosecutor and a judge, Merrick Garland has been careful not to give much away on his stance about marijuana legalization.
The last direct opinion he gave on the subject was in 2012 at a federal hearing on the scheduling of cannabis in which the advocate of the plant aimed to object to the federal government’s classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug.
This meant that the drug was categorized as holding no medical value whatsoever and was entirely under the category of “drugs of abuse”.
Joe Elford who was counsel for the medical cannabis advocacy group for Safe Access disputed that the federal government “failed to weigh the evidence” as regards the plant’s medicinal value but instead leaned towards the DEA’S “bias” against the drug.
“Don’t we have to defer to their judgment on what the medical studies show?” Judge Merrick Garland asked at this point. He further went on to say, “We’re not scientists. They are.”
The petition was denied by the three-judge panel, this being one of the various attempts over a couple of decades to oppose the scheduling of cannabis in the Controlled Substance Act of 1970.
While Garland didn’t write the decision, he supported the ruling of the majority for the scheduling of cannabis at the time.
This was close to a decade ago, what could be Garland’s view of the matter today?
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