The National District Attorney’s Association have created a policy group of 14 district attorneys who have been selected to form a marijuana advisory committee to assist the Trump administration with marijuana policy. While the group has members from Colorado, California and Oregon, it is still mainly a conservative group which makes the democratic voices, such as that of Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett, that much more important. Garnett was selected to join and, as a District Attorney living in Colorado, a state that has had a legal recreational marijuana industry since 2014, his experience and knowledge will no doubt be a factor in balancing the perspectives of the group.
“The More Liberal Position”
“I always end up on the more liberal position than anyone else, particularly on marijuana,” says Garnett. “I think one of the things that happens is that many of the people in states where there is no legalization have a complete misunderstanding of states like Colorado. If nothing else, I’m able to say, ‘Wait a minute, this is a huge business in Colorado, it is largely supported by the editorial boards, polls show it was being very popular, and by and large we have not seen an impact on crime rates.’” He went on to talk about the danger of states, such as Missouri and South Carolina, who have no legalization, advising other states such as Colorado on how to handle marijuana policy. Garnett emphasized that this is a violation of state rights.
Contrasting Perspectives of the Marijuana Advisory Committee
In the first meeting, there were district attorneys present who wanted to draft a letter to the governor of any state with either medical or recreational marijuana, telling them they had 90 days to shut the industry down. Clearly not all members of the group agreed and Garnett was able to provide a perspective and understanding of how he believed this was an “unrealistic and ill-advised idea.”
Schisms Between the Government and the People
While Trump has stated in the past that he will not interfere with state law, he has recommended Jeff Sessions as the next attorney general. Jeff Sessions has been a very vocal opponent of marijuana in the past but in his new role as attorney general, he will have to respect what the Trump administration want to do and take on the recommendations of the marijuana advisory committee. 8 states now have legal recreational marijuana and 28 states have legalized medical marijuana. That’s over 1/5 of the country. This large number of states with a legal marijuana industry will need strong voices within the marijuana advisory committee in order to ensure stability and progress.
Thankfully, the main objectives of the group are the same. All district attorneys within the group are concerned with keeping marijuana out of the reach of children, stopping people from driving under the influence or over the legal limit and getting rid of the black market. So long as the focus remains on important issues such as these, the group can accomplish some good. Only 10 days in, it’s hard to tell what direction things will go in but it may just be a matter of time before the committee finds its footing.
References: Daily Camera