Trump's DOJ Gears Up for Crackdown on Marijuana
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Trump's DOJ Gears Up for Crackdown on Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on July 23, 2017 at 17:36:29 PT
By Lydia Wheeler
Source: Hill
Washington, D.C. -- 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’s 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 increases 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." “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,” said the letter from Sessions, first obtained by and verified by The Washington Post.As for the task force, Sessions said another subcommittee would “explore our use of asset forfeiture and make recommendations on any improvements needed to legal authorities, policies, and training to most effectively attack the financial infrastructure of criminal organizations.”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. “From a practitioner’s point of view, marijuana is not a drug that doesn’t have some danger to it, but it’s not the drug that’s driving violent crime in America,” said Ronal Serpas, the former superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department and co-chairman of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration.“That’s not the drug with which we see so much death and destruction on the streets of America. Crack and powdered cocaine, heroin and opioids is where we’re seeing people die on street corners fighting over territory or control.”Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and another 21 states allow the use of medical marijuana, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, but marijuana use is still illegal under federal law.If Sessions ignites a fight over states' rights, Chettiar wonders whether it will spur Republicans into a showdown with the Trump administration on criminal justice reform.  Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who publicly criticized Sessions for reversing Obama-era guidelines on criminal charges and sentencing in May, said he’s not in favor of the DOJ interfering with state policies regarding marijuana. “I will oppose anybody from the administration or otherwise that wants to interfere with state policy,” he told The Hill this week.Paul is part of a bipartisan group of Senators pushing legislation to allow patients to continue accessing medical marijuana in states where it is legal without fear of federal prosecution. Legislation introduced last month by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Paul introduced — known as the The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act — would amend federal law to allow states to set their own medical marijuana policies. According to Politifact, Trump pledged to leave marijuana legalization up to the states while on the campaign trail. But last month he reportedly pushed back against the congressional ban on the DOJ interfering with state medical marijuana laws in a signing statement, asserting that he isn’t legally bound to the limits imposed by Congress. The DOJ’s likely move on marijuana comes amid rising tensions between Trump and Sessions.Trump in an interview with The New York Times publicly dressed down Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, calling that decision “very unfair” to him. Longtime Trump ally Roger Stone argued this week that Trump has been disappointed in Sessions.“The president initially bonded with Sessions because he saw him as a tough guy,” he said in an interview with The New York Times.“Now he’s saying: 'Where’s my tough guy? Why doesn’t he have my back?’ There’s a lack of aggressiveness with Sessions, unless it involves chasing people for smoking pot.” In an interview with The Hill, Booker called Sessions “one of the greatest threats to the safety of our local communities in America.”“If you try to start prosecuting marijuana … you create more violence and more danger as well as greater government cost,” he said. “These policies that he’s doing ultimately go to the core of the safety of our communities.” 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.Source: Hill, The (US DC)Author: Lydia WheelerPublished: July 23, 2017Copyright: 2017 The HillContact: editor thehill.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #10 posted by HempWorld on July 25, 2017 at 08:22:25 PT
Trump speaks to advisers about firing Sessions!
Trump speaks to advisers about firing Sessions:*/Article_2017-07-24-US--Trump-Sessions-Beleaguered/id-1ce8949173dd41ab97e1b4b48e55f6f2
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Comment #9 posted by MikeEEEEE on July 24, 2017 at 18:39:06 PT
Let the lawsuits fly
I believe states will sue these idiots. 
Like the lawsuits currently under way: 
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Comment #8 posted by BGreen on July 24, 2017 at 16:39:57 PT
It will not happen so let's all relax
They feed off of our fear so I will let them starve. We all know with our hearts that they can't do what they are threatening. They have never been able to and they are even less powerful now. They do not have the money to declare war on us. They just don't. So let's relax.There are certain people who derive their power off of the energy of others. The Kardashians, Kanye, et al., all have nothing to offer but thrive off of the energy of others when others focus on these people. The same goes for these politicians. Stop giving them our energy. Focus only upon what we want to see and on those who are doing what we want to see. That's where our energy should be focused.Those who thrive on hatred are a dying breed. The sooner we ignore them the faster they disappear.The Reverent Bud Green
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Comment #7 posted by The GCW on July 24, 2017 at 11:29:59 PT
Let them try.
The popularity of medical cannabis will mow down the ignoid.There has been screwed up people fighting against cannabis all along the way. Always. That has never stopped Us. Never.Now the superplant is accepted so much more and general population already can't stand trump and sessions. The Blow-back they have been experiencing will only increase and the stretched rubber-band will break.
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Comment #6 posted by Sam Adams on July 24, 2017 at 07:30:05 PT
Orwellian talk
>>That's not the drug with which we see so much death and destruction on the streets of America. Crack and powdered cocaine, heroin and opioids is where we’re seeing people die on street corners fighting over territory or control.Then of course those are the substances that must be legalized! Are we looking for violent crime in America? Here's some:
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Comment #5 posted by HempWorld on July 24, 2017 at 07:01:27 PT
Trump Said To Consider Replacing Jeff Sessions
Trump Said To Consider Replacing Jeff Sessions With Rudy Giuliani: Axios
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Comment #4 posted by HempWorld on July 23, 2017 at 19:25:58 PT
 July 19, 2017 staff 71 Comments
AG shifts strategy to target medicinal marijuanaBy Roger StoneThe New York Times of Sunday, July 16 brought chilling new evidence that Trump attorney general Jeff Sessions, in direct contradiction of the position stated by Donald J Trump when he was a candidate, plans a federal crackdown on marijuana in the 29 states that have legalized some form of its use. At a campaign rally in Sparks, Nevada on Oct. 29, 2015, Trump said: “The marijuana thing is such a big thing. I think medical should happen — right? Don’t we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states. It should be a state situation … but I believe that the legalization of marijuana – other than for medical because I think medical, you know I know people that are very, very sick and for whatever reason, the marijuana really helps them – … but in terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state.”According to the Times, attorney general Sessions plans a 1960s style relaunch of the discredited “War on Drugs” which has proved to be an ignominious and expensive failure which has neither stemmed or slowed drug trafficking and abuse nor has rehabilitated victims while leading to mass incarceration of an entire generation of minority Americans for the nonviolent offense of possession of small amounts of drugs. and round we go!
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Comment #3 posted by MikeEEEEE on July 23, 2017 at 19:09:51 PT
trump Looney Bin
My real concern is, this guy can launch nukes.That's all folks!!!
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on July 23, 2017 at 18:09:00 PT
This Breaks My Heart
6 months that is all it has taken to turn our country upside down. I feel like the almost 20 years of doing CNews is trying to be turned all the way back to the beginning. I watch MSNBC everyday and night and hope and pray we can stop this madness before more damage is done to people's lives and freedoms.
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Comment #1 posted by Soupherb on July 23, 2017 at 17:57:16 PT:
Looney Tunes
These guys are more crazy than the cartoons I watched as a kid...
Will be interested to see how this all works out for the psychopaths leading out Government.
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