Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was no friend to the country’s burgeoning marijuana industry, which includes a growing presence in Florida.
The ex-top cop not only maintained the federal government’s position — that marijuana is an illegal narcotic in the same category as heroine and cocaine — he rescinded an Obama-era guidance that prevented federal authorities from interfering in marijuana trade in states where it was legal. The decision had a chilling effect on the marijuana industry, which already operates with much uncertainty and little access to traditional banking institutions.
But William Barr, President Donald Trump’s choice to replace Sessions, apparently doesn’t hold the same position. Here’s a dispatch from Barr’s confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, courtesy of the Associated Press:
Attorney general nominee Bill Barr says he would “not go after” marijuana companies in states where cannabis is legal.
Barr said at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday that companies had relied on Obama-era guidance that kept federal authorities from cracking down on the pot trade in states where the drug is legal.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded that guidance, known as the Cole Memo, last year.
Sessions’ action came days after California’s broad marijuana legalization. Since the guidance was rescinded, there has been concern about the future of the growing cannabis industry.
Federal law prohibits the possession and sale of marijuana.
Barr says he believes that the “current system is untenable.”
New Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is reportedly weighing whether to drop the state’s legal opposition to smokeable marijuana, a fight that began under his predecessor, Rick Scott.