Marijuana Industry Gives Obama’s SCOTUS Nominee Cautious Thumbs Up

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation

The marijuana industry is giving a cautious thumbs up for Judge Merrick Garland, the jurist President Barack Obama nominated Monday to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Widely recognized not only as one of America’s sharpest legal minds but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence,” Obama told an audience in the White House Rose Garden during the nomination speech.

Garland is known for his deference to federal agencies. During a 2012 case on the rescheduling of marijuana, Garland sided with Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) against medical marijuana advocates arguing for change. “Don’t we have to defer to their judgment?” Garland asked about the DEA. “We’re not scientists. They are.”

Despite siding with the DEA, a clutch of marijuana chief executives told The Daily Caller News Foundation they welcome his nomination because of his humility in the face of scientific evidence.

Derek Peterson, CEO of Terra Tech

“We’re pleased with President Obama’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Mr. Garland appears to have broad respect for the medical cannabis community. It will be nice to have a voice that relies on the science rather than unfounded preconceived notions based on reefer madness and propaganda.”

Eddie Miller, Chief Strategy Officer of GreenRush

“We believe the President has picked a nominee for the Supreme court who is both a pragmatic and logical juror.

“Great jurisprudence is the result of logical interpretation of our laws as well as a hyper-logical approach and examination of expert opinion. The Judge has cited that in order for policy makers to craft proper American Public policy toward Medical Marijuana, it is vital to listen to the scientist, and especially give them a chance to do their work,” Miller added.

Aaron Herzeberg, Partner at CalCann Holdings

“Judge garland appears to be a well-reasoned and thoughtful jurist. Presently the case of Nebraska and Oklahoma v Colorado is pending before the Supreme Court In which those states are seeking to invalidate Colorado’s legalization on the basis of federal preemption. Judge Garland may be involved in deciding this important case. He was previously part of a 3 judge panel that denied a request to reschedule marijuana from class I controlled substance to a lower class- but although he denied that request he made remarks that scientists and not judges or the government should decide whether marijuana should be reclassified.”

Jeffery M. Zucker, President of Green Lion Partners

“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.”

Kyle Sherman, CEO of Flowhub

“Judge Garland’s ability to look past prohibition era rhetoric and focus in on listening to what the scientific community has been saying since Nixon’s days is a fantastic thing for our industry and for the patients that so desperately need safe access to their full plant based medicine. It’s important that we don’t let politics get in the way of cannabis legalization and we focus in on the facts. Cannabis is a safe substance that the majority of Americans want legalized for adult use, I’m thankful that someone like Judge Garland is on the right side of history.”

Andy Williams, CEO of Medicine Man (the largest dispensary in Denver)

“I anticipate over the next several years the Supreme Court will weigh in on some of the most pressing issues for the industry from banking to commerce and issues of federalism. I am hopeful that the Supreme Court will see the cannabis issue as favorably as the broader public and move forward in a positive way.”

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