Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA) had asked about how Garland’s agency could take to stop organizations from illicitly cultivating cannabis.
Garland said that he’s “not precisely familiar with the specifics” of that issue. He said it is “certainly within our jurisdiction and within our scope of concern” to go after illegal growing operations.
But the attorney general added that people simply using cannabis in legal states is not a worthwhile endeavor.
“The department’s view on marijuana use is that enforcement against use is not a good use of our resources,” Garland said. “And I understand that’s not what you’re talking about. You’re talking about growing and manufacturing at a large scale.”
The meeting of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce wasn’t focused on Cannabis; instead, it concerned the annual budget request for the Justice Department. Drug enforcement did come up on several occasions.
Garland’s Remarks Remain Consistent
Garland’s remarks, in each case, on DOJ cannabis enforcement remained consistent with what he said throughout his confirmation process.
“I do not think it 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,” he previously said. “I do think we need to be sure, for example, that there are no end runs around the state laws by criminal enterprises, and that access is prohibited to minors.”
That view aligns with policies put into place under President Barack Obama’s administration. Those policies became known as the Cole memorandum. The policy was then rescinded by Donald Trump’s first attorney general, Jeff Sessions.