Today, in a bipartisan 70-30 vote, members of the US Senate approved Merrick Garland to be the next Attorney General of the United States.
Commenting on his successful nomination and its potential impact on the future of marijuana policy reform efforts at the state and federal level, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said:
“There are many reasons for marijuana policy reform advocates to be optimistic about Attorney General Merrick Garland. During his confirmation hearing, he recognized that “criminalizing the use of marijuana has contributed to mass incarceration and racial disparities in our criminal justice system.’ He further acknowledged that he does ‘not think it [is] the best use of the Department’s limited resources to pursue prosecutions of those who are complying with the laws in states that have legalized and are effectively regulating marijuana.’ These comments ought to be reassuring to those employed by the growing state-regulated cannabis industry and to the millions of individuals who rely upon it, as well as to the nearly seven in ten Americans who believe that cannabis should be legal for adults.”
Altieri added, “That said, such a ‘hands-off’ policy is little more than a short-term band-aid. The long-term solution is for Congress to deschedule cannabis – thereby repealing the failed federal policy of marijuana prohibition and eliminating the existing state/federal conflict.”