Get ready for a fight

July 23, 2017
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Trump’s DOJ gears up for crackdown on marijuana

The Trump administration is readying for a crackdown on marijuana users under Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

President Trump’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, led by Sessions, is expected to release a report next week that criminal justice reform advocates fear will link marijuana to violent crime and recommend tougher sentences for those caught growing, selling and smoking the plant. […]

“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,” said Inimai Chettiar, director of the Brennan Center’s Justice Program. […]

On Wednesday, Sessions reportedly re-established a controversial criminal asset seizure program ahead of the committee’s recommendations.

Local law enforcement leaders say a crackdown appears to be next, though they argue there’s no need for it. […]

Though Sessions appears to be an obstacle for lawmakers and advocates who want sentencing reform, Booker said he’s not “insurmountable.”

“If we can overcome Strom Thurmond’s filibuster against the civil rights bill, we can overcome a U.S. Attorney General who is out of step with history and out of step with his party,” he said.

But Sessions isn’t alone in his views on pot. Though he said he believes in the need for sentencing reform, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) seemed to agree this week that there needs to be stricter enforcement.

“I believe marijuana probably needs to be cracked down on, but we’ll see when he sends it over,” Graham said of the task force report.

I don’t doubt, particularly since the task force is an internal structure, that the report will be crafted to appeal to what Sessions wants to do, regardless of the facts. So we could see a return to the federal pigheadedness of the John Walters tenure as Drug Czar, or worse, as Sessions has more actual power.

However, this isn’t 2007, and the political realities have shifted pretty dramatically in the past 10 years. Sessions won’t find it as easy to return to the war on marijuana that once existed. Legalization is becoming acceptable, profitable, and politically advantageous.

Government propaganda just doesn’t fly like it used to, so any findings of the task force are likely to undergo a lot more scrutiny. And there are plenty of allies on all sides of the political landscape who won’t put up with a return to pot wars.

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Pete Guither is the editor of drugwarrant.com

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