Last week, William Barr, the nominee for the post of US Attorney General, appointed by President Trump to the post of Jeff Sessions, formally confirmed at a hearing in the Federal Senate that he would not use his official position to pursue hemp business and hinder the development of reform in plants.
Responding to questions from the Senate Commission, Mr. Barr confirmed this statement on paper certified by his signature. In addition to the new Attorney General promising not to fight hemp reform, he also recognized that the federal government needs to raise the quota for the production of cannabis on state plantations, to supply the needs of scientists at universities and national laboratories.
“As I have already argued, I do not plan to take any measures for the legal prosecution of individuals and legal organizations that are engaged in legal hemp business in accordance with the provisions of local laws and the instructions of the Cole Memorandum,” Barr reports to journalists .
At the same time, it is worth noting that Barr does not want to replace the canceled memorandum with a certain new document that will provide the regional governments with official guidance on the implementation of local reform in relation to cannabis.
“Honestly, I do not think that replacing the Cole Memorandum with a similarly consultative document would be a sufficiently effective measure to resolve the existing legal conflict between the federal government and individual states,” Barr answers the question of Senator Corey Booker about the possibility of replacing the old memorandum. “As a last resort, we will have to either cancel the other memorandum on the issue of regional reform, published by Jeff Sessions in January 2018, or to balance the new leadership with the provisions of these recommendations.”
In general, Mr. Barr, who once held the post of US Attorney General under the administration of George W. Bush, believes that an effective solution to the issue of regional legalization should lie in the decision of the federal Congress of the country.
“In my opinion, such an important decision should be determined by the democratic process, in the parliament of our country, and not imposed on the regions by direct decree from the government,” Barr notes in one of the entries submitted to the Senate Committee at the beginning of the year.
Of course, despite his promises not to pursue hemp business and hinder reform, Barr, as a member of the Republican Party, continues to be skeptical about the idea of legalizing marijuana.
“In the issue of legalization of cannabis, one should take into account the points of view and concerns of all parties interested in reform, and not impose a certain point of view on all these groups,” says Barr in response to one of the questions of Senator Diana Feinstein, who is a member of the Senate Committee. “Personally, from personal convictions, I do not support the idea of legalizing cannabis for recreational consumption. Nevertheless, I am open to the possibility of discussing the issue of holding such a reform in the legislative assembly. ”
Despite such a nuance, in general, the activists are pleased that now the head of the justice system of the country is not a staunch opponent of the reform, which was Jeff Sessions.
“Considering the previous person as Prosecutor General, promises not to pursue hemp business in legalized regions are certainly significant progress,” said Michael Collins, director of the distant federal policy at the public organization Drug Policy Alliance, to journalists. “In any case, we hope that other politicians will pay attention to changing public opinion regarding marijuana and take appropriate measures to support federal and regional reforms.”
Also, activists say that Barr is one of the few federal politicians who openly agreed to support the conduct of formal research on the properties of cannabis in university and national laboratories.
“I support an increase in the quota for the production of legal cannabis on state-owned plantations, to more effectively supply universities and government laboratories with materials for conducting experiments,” – Barr notes during an interview with the commission, confirming in writing his readiness to “take all the necessary steps” to support formal research. in regards to hemp .
For the past 50 years, one plantation at the University of Mississippi has been involved in the production of cannabis for government experiments. For a long time, activists and representatives of the scientific community complained that the plantation produces a very small amount of product per year, and also provides hemp with only two semi-wild phenotypes. In 2016, the ambulance service attempted to license private plantations for the production of scientific cannabis, however, Jeff Sheshens decisively blocked the negotiation process between the agency and regional companies .
“At the moment I am not familiar with the licensing process of private plantations for the state cultivation program,” Barr reports. “I can assure you that I will consider any potential applications from private organizations.”
Also, Barr does not deny that the laws should not restrict the cultivation of technical hemp, legalized at the beginning of the year , since this breed of plant does not contain psychoactive cannabinoids.
“At the moment, plants containing CBD, with a THC concentration of less than 1% of the number of active substances, can be legally cultivated throughout the country without special licenses,” he notes in one of the testimony records for the committee.
Despite the skepticism about the legalization of recreational marijuana, Barr acknowledges the use of medical cannabis in the treatment of various types of diseases, including psychological ailments.
Following the announcement of the successful nomination of Barr to the post of Prosecutor General, he delivered a speech in which he promised to radically change the system of work of the Ministry of Justice and move away in the opposite direction of Sheshens.
“Over the past twenty years, the movement in support of legalization has been able to achieve impressive progress, methodically demonstrating the advantages of hemp reform and the failures of the so-called“ Warriors with Drugs ”. It’s nice that now our efforts have become noticeable at the level of the federal government, including the new Prosecutor General, ”said Don Murphy, political director of the Marijuana Policy Project organization. “In fact, Mr. Barr promised us to complete the“ warrior ”by signing peace agreements.”
The head of NORML, Justin Strykal, also spoke positively about Barr, saying: “The new Prosecutor General has shown that he is much wiser than his predecessor, acknowledging the achievements and discoveries of cannabis reform and promising to support further research on the therapeutic use of the plant. I hope that by the end of the year, representatives of the country’s legislative assembly and the leaders of law enforcement agencies will take our side. ”