Source: The Hill/Lydia Wheeler
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.
Sessions sent a memo in April updating the U.S. Attorney’s Offices and Department of Justice Department (DOJ) component heads on the work of the task force, which he said would be accomplished through various subcommittees. In the memo, Sessions said he has asked for initial recommendations no later than July 27.
“Task Force subcommittees will also undertake a review of existing policies in the areas of charging, sentencing, and marijuana to ensure consistency with the Department’s overall strategy on reducing violent crime and with Administration goals and priorities,” he wrote.
Criminal justice reform advocates fear Sessions’ memo signals stricter enforcement is ahead.
“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 increase violent crime,” said Inimai Chettiar, director of the Brennan Center’s Justice Program.
“We’re worried 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.”
Sessions sent a letter in May asking congressional leaders to do away with an amendment to the DOJ budget prohibiting the agency from using federal funds to prevent states “from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”