Marijuana Industry Braces For Looming Federal Crackdown From Sessions

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 25, 2017

United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions is no fan of marijuana, but his anti-pot crusades have mostly been confined to speeches.

"The task force revolves around reducing violent crime, and Sessions and other DOJ officials have been out there over the last month - and explicitly the last couple of weeks - talking about how immigration and marijuana increases violent crime", Inimai Chettiar, Brennan Center's Justice Program director, told The Hill.

The Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, led by Sessions, is expected to release a report next week, and many fear that the report will draw a link between violent crime and cannabis.

Sessions charged the task force with reviewing existing federal policy on marijuana legalization and providing recommendations to him no later than July 27.

"We're anxious there's going to be something in the recommendations that is either saying that that's true or recommending action be taken based on that being true".

Ronal Serpas, the former superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department and co-chairman of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, considers such a "crackdown" to be entirely unnecessary.

Sessions noted, "I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime". Crack and powdered cocaine, heroin and opioids is where we're seeing people die on street corners fighting over territory or control, " he says of the common misconception that cannabis use drives up violent crime.

Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, but eight states and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational use, while 21 states permit medical uses, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ): "If you try to start prosecuting marijuana...you create more violence and more danger as well as greater government cost". Polls indicate that marijuana is considerably more popular than the Trump administration.

Even some conservatives oppose federal action on marijuana in lieu of state's rights. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told The Hill.

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