Roopali Desai Nominated By Biden For Federal Appeals Court Helped Craft Cannabis Regulation In Arizona

Marijuana Moment report

President Joe Biden’s judicial nominee for a key federal appeals court has helped to craft a state marijuana legalization ballot initiative and also served in a leadership role for a national cannabis advocacy organization. A Republican senator brought up her work on the issue at a confirmation hearing last week.

Roopali Desai, who was nominated by the president to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, worked on behalf of the Arizona Dispensary Association (ADA) in 2019, meeting with the state Democratic Caucus and Republican leadership “concerning a proposed ballot measure regarding adult-use cannabis in Arizona,” according to disclosure documents filed with the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In a letter supporting the nominee’s confirmation, the president of the Alliance for Justice wrote that Desai was “instrumental in crafting and defending Proposition 207, a voter initiative which led to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Arizona.”

Arizona voters approved that cannabis legalization ballot measure in 2020.

Additionally, Desai served as a member of the advisory board for the National Cannabis Roundtable (NCR) from 2021 to 2022, the disclosure documents show. It’s not clear what she worked on in that capacity—and the disclosure form says the role was uncompensated—but the organization advocates for federal legalization.

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