The head of the federal prosecutors in Oregon has been selected to lead the U.S. Attorney General’s Marijuana Working Group. This group is made up of all the federal prosecutors in the states where cannabis is legal in some form (recreational and, or medical).
Billy Williams of Oregon will lead this 16-member panel. The panel examines how the different states are handling matters of law enforcement, policy and practices with regards to marijuana. The committee isn’t a new creation. It existed long before Donald Trump took office.
The panel is part of the sub-committee which advises the U.S. Attorney General on issues regarding controlled substances, such as cannabis and heroine.
The selection of Williams is significant since he has been very vocal in expressing his displeasure regarding the way the state of Oregon handled marijuana legalization. He has always pushed for stronger measures to cut off the supplies of marijuana into the black market.
Early this year, Williams revealed his priorities for the federal prosecutors under his leadership in Oregon. He wanted enforcement efforts to be focused on stamping out the illegal cannabis market in the state as well as ending the illegal cultivation of marijuana.
Recently, he again stated that overproduction and the black market have become major law enforcement issues on the west coast where cannabis is legal for both recreational and medical use.
His zeal for “greater regulation” seems to have now received a bigger platform upon which he can promote his desire to see multi-district efforts to control the burgeoning cannabis industry.
Interestingly, the press release announcing the selection of Billy J. Williams was released on the very day that Jeff Sessions resigned as U.S. Attorney General.
It would have been worth following how Jeff Sessions, known for his strong opposition to any form of cannabis legalization, would have acted if he had Williams (a man known for his zeal to see tougher marijuana legislation) as his de facto chief advisor on matters of marijuana. Industry players could be sighing with relief that those two men never got to work closely together.
Medical marijuana became legal in Oregon in 1998 while a ballot measure legalized recreational cannabis in 2014. This means that Oregon was one of the pioneer states to allow adult-use cannabis. The zeal of Attorney Williams can therefore be seen in some quarters as an attempt to roll back the tolerance of cannabis in that state.
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