Biden nominates Merrick Garland as attorney general

Nearly five months after his ill-fated Supreme Court nomination, federal appeals court justice Merrick Garland has been chosen as the nation’s next chief law enforcement officer. President-Elect Joe Biden nominated Garland as Attorney General Wednesday after Georgia handed its two Senate seats to Democrats, ushering in a blue majority.

Like Tuesday’s Senate elections, The nomination of Garland could have important implications for federal cannabis policy and criminal justice reform.

Garland is widely seen as a moderate pick for attorney general — and one who is unlikely to champion the kind of radical changes that many social justice activists would like to see. One of the few cannabis cases he presided over was a 2013 lawsuit filed by Americans for Safe Access, which sought to reschedule the drug in order to expand medical research. Garland ultimately sided with the DEA, but his approach to the case and his respect for the science still drew praise from some pro-cannabis activists.

Cannabis entrepreneur Jeffrey M. Zucker said the following when Garland was first nominated to the High Court by President Obama, as quoted by Vice News:

“While we can't say for certain how he will be on the Bench if his nomination is accepted, Garland appears to be a safe choice from the cannabis industry perspective. Although he hasn't been a champion of the issue, it's good to know that he has an open mind to listen to the scientists that actually understand how the plant's chemical compounds interact with the human body."

Read more about Garland’s nomination and what it could mean for cannabis reform here.


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