Recently, Eric Holder spoke on a drug policy panel stating that the United States was on the path to decriminalizing cannabis federally as more states advance reform measures. Holder, the former U.S. attorney general who served under the President Barak Obama administration, stated that he was encouraged that the country was moving toward more tolerant laws on drugs that saw addiction as a public health issue.
Holder explained that the drug war had cost lots of taxpayer dollars and shattered livelihoods, noting that the society had begun to move in a different direction. Holder added that he was conflicted by efforts to decriminalize other illicit substances, including cocaine and heroin. The former attorney general revealed that he had a difficult time thinking about the decriminalization of these substances, which one could see had had a negative effect on individuals as well as the society at large. He also argued that the penalties for drug-related offenses could be lower, noting that judges should exercise more discretion when dealing with drug cases on a case-by-case basis, adding that mandatory minimum sentences for these offenses should be abolished.
The former attorney general has received credit from advocates for calling for deprioritizing the enforcement of cannabis federally. In 2013, the Justice Department issued the Cole memo, whichi discouraged federal prosecutors from going after individuals who were in compliance with state-legal marijuana laws.
However, activists also call attention to the fact that while Holder suggested that cannabis be federally rescheduled after he left office, he didn’t begin the process to enact the change in policy while he was still in office.
The panel, which was hosted by the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University, also centered on racial inequities in drug enforcement. The conversation was moderated by Douglas Berman from the institution. Other members of the panel included U.S. District Chief Judge Algenon Marbley, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and activist Piper Kerman. All the members of the panel agreed that the disparities illuminated the need for reform.
Marbley also stated that the federal government needed to align themselves with the states in regard to cannabis laws. He explained that most states in the country permitted the use of medical cannabis and those that were yet to allow for recreational cannabis use were headed in that direction, which meant that it was time for the federal government to get on board.
The decriminalization of cannabis at a federal level will go a long way toward making it easier for the industry and players such as Flora Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: FLGC) to reach their fullest potential of meeting the needs of the people in the different markets within which they operate.
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