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Sessions Task Force Will Review DOJ Cannabis Enforcement

April 6, 2017
Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks about crime to local, state and federal law enforcement officials Friday, March 31, 2017, in St. Louis. (Jeff Roberson/AP)
Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent out a memo on Wednesday to U.S. Attorneys announcing the formation of a new task crime reduction task force. The task force will review how the Department of Justice enforces cannabis laws, among other things, and will report its initial recommendations by July 27, 2017.

In the memo, which was sent to federal prosecutors and the heads of Justice Department agencies, Sessions said that task force subcommittees will focus on a variety of issues, including:

Developing violent crime reduction strategies, supporting prevention and re-entry efforts, updating charging and sentencing policies, reviewing asset forfeiture guidance, reducing illegal immigration and human trafficking, combating hate crimes, and evaluating marijuana enforcement policy.

Sessions did not announce how many people are on the task force, who they are, or whether they have positions inside or outside the federal government.

On the topic of cannabis, the task force will “review 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.”

So it seems as if cannabis will be included into a subcommittee that is looking at the appropriate levels of charging and sentencing.

This seems to add to the uncertainty in the cannabis industry, as Sessions has sent many mixed messages on cannabis and its continued federal prohibition.

In February, Sessions said that the DOJ will try and adopt more “responsible policies” for enforcing cannabis laws. Experts told him, he said, that there is more violence around cannabis than one would think.

One of the other subcommittee’s will explore the use of asset forfeiture, and make recommendations on any improvements to legal authorities, policies, and training to most effectively attack the financial infrastructure of criminal organizations.


California Leaders Want to Block a Fed Move Against Cannabis

The new task force is not specifically focused on the enforcement of federal cannabis laws. The Violent Crime Reduction Strategy Development Subcommittee will make recommendations for the department’s overall violent crime reduction strategy, which according to the memo, will focus on enforcement against violent offenders.

The subcommittee will also focus on immigration enforcement and human trafficking to ensure that the federal government has “an aggressive and coordinated strategy to deter those who violate our boarders and subject others to forced labor, involuntary servitude, sex trafficking, and other forms of modern-day slavery.

Sessions added that the DOJ also must protect the civil rights of all Americans, and accordingly, the Hate Crimes Subcommittee will “develop a plan to appropriately address hate crimes and better protect the rights of all Americans.”

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Gage Peake

Gage Peake is a former staff writer for Leafly, where he specialized in data journalism, sports, and breaking news coverage. He's a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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  • I’ve always been told tghat it’s not nice to poiunt at people, and be pro warring on your own people in your own country is caled high treason.
    Whats the reason

    • Geoff Jacobs

      Because he’s a little man with a little brain that wants so much to be a big shot politician. And, unfortunately, he has fooled Trump into believing that he is actually competent?!
      Anybody that make the kind of ignorant, uneducated comments and remarks about Cannabis that he does advertises to the world what a DUNCE he is!!

  • Jeff Wilson

    “Experts told him, he said, that there is more violence around cannabis than one would think.” Idiots !!!, yeah, ILLEGAL cannabis. Make it legal and the violence magically disappears, of course that would be counter productive for the for profit prisons owned by the 1%

    • Gbop

      The only thing violent about personal cannabis use is going to prison full of violent offenders for pesonal use of a non violent non lethal natural carbon based medicinally proven herb.

  • Robert McKeown

    The only reason anyone who smoked a little MJ is in fight mode is that they also spent the day drinking alcohol, hitting other drugs like cocaine , meth or any other of a dozen drugs on the street. I mean really have you ever seen two people fight after smoking pot? It’s more like a couple of kittens or puppies…after 30 seconds they are napping together. Peace

  • Geoff Jacobs

    “Task Force”???? That’s so….80’s???? Then again, so is Sessions.

  • lovingc

    So what does he think “task force” is going to do? Probably thinks it will show dogs and cats living together in sin. Jeffy needs to worry about politics in his home state. They just forced the gov. to resign. There are numbers of people and entities that have their tits in a ringer as well.

  • Stan deville

    What exactly are they doing? are they planning on going to each state that has legalized and close all the dispensaries? Cool, now we have to find our weed elsewhere, what about the medical states? are they going to screw with that? I am a resident of Michigan and I know a few veterans who use MMJ. It helps with their PTSD. Obviously we know that. so what are they going to go door to door arresting every MMJ card holder?
    This whole sitiuation is rediculas. Let the states who decided to legalize, stay legal. A government for the people, by the people…yeah right

  • Steve Sleep (Stretcher Bearer)

    the only thing in danger from marijuana is donuts. You’ll only get my LEGAL OREGON Bud when you pry it from my cold dead hands, or if you ask nice I’ll share. The recreational legal states are well on their way of becoming financially self-sustaining with very little need to bum cash from the Feds. and if they continue with the threat of prosecuting banks that work with legal dispensers, that’s no small sum that DC will never see. We the people voted in a legal election in a sovereign state part of a larger republic. To that end, I myself.and other people in many states perhaps for the first time , felt that their voice was heard, and their vote counted, to have someone say “I know what’s better for you and you voted wrong”I don’t believe sits well with any American. The people of the respective states voted. If that means that 2 bit DEA agents who spent their careers busting pot heads may actually have to justify their jobs by keeping the Coke and Heroin the streets.

  • Gbop

    The Cannabis Industry is Providing Jobs and GOODS THAT Are Produced and Processed by Americans also Relator’s are profiting benefiting on the behalf of the cannabis industry also there are plenty of relator’s who are also in the Cannabis business because of there property connections. If you take that into Mind i dont think it’s in Trumps best businesses interest to Stop this Cannabis Industry. His Businesses would miss out big time they would be losing out on fortune’s. And he dont lose. Also Revunue From Cannabis Excise’s are fixing enfrastructure and Bailing States out of a deficit . Kind of Ironic huh that this same plant that so many have been persecuted is generating revenue used to hire the very same individuals who where committing the pesecution. Fixed Roads Schools Bridges Tunnels ect the lust gose on.🌿😵✌🙏💯🙋

  • Gbop

    C Hill Please Chill.

  • Gbop

    Don’t you have bigger fish to fry.

  • Gbop

    Cannabis doesn’t Kill.

  • Jen R

    This is just more hype over nothing specific! I’ll keep giving my cannabis tax $ to CO!

  • etowah

    You know what? I have not voted for ANY democrat since Jimmy Carter HOWEVER… if the republicans do this I will become a single issue voter for as long as it takes to get this insanity stopped. In the Bible, in the book of Genesis, The Lord gave man “every green herb, bearing seed after its kind. It shall be food for you”. I’m not looking it up so I may have a word or two wrong it I am NOT wrong about our creator giving us every plant… it is a God given right and frankly, all you have to do is consider… we live on earth, plants grow on earth, they belong to all of us by birthright. It is the height of arrogance for some people to tell other people what plants they can and cannot, grow, possess, or use… as the individual sees fit! I am 65yo, I dont use it. I might if I was not held captive by drug testing so that I can get medication that I need that happens to be made from another plant to which the same moral authority applies. I’ve grown my own pods in the past and I can do it again. Who do these people think they are??? WHY do they not recognize the law of supply and demand? Why do they think helping some abuser is more important than allowing me, a productive citizen who has owned a business since 1989, to have what I need to have better quality of life. They seem to think that if something makes a person “feel good” then it is evil.
    I WILL be switching my votes if things don’t change soon and I WILL get more involved vocally and financially. It is time for this backwardness to END.
    I don’t think Sessions is a bad man, I just think he is wrong and don’t even get me started on that loon Chris Christie.
    I wrote to my congress and senators earlier this week and will be talking to my state representative who is a client of mine at both his business and his home. He knows I am not an abuser and it’s time for us ALL to speak up!!

  • HappySmoke Hancho

    Met Jeff Sessions, the new Harry Anslinger A true Neandrathal from the stone age. You really can’t lame him if he’s blind to the truth about cannabis, after all, he has his head so far up his ass he can see his own tonsils! We can only hope he developes lung cancer and has to turn to cannabis for a cure. Maybe then he’ll get it but I doubt it. It would have to lung cancer since he obviously lacks a brain!!

  • HappySmoke Hancho

    Jeff needs to go back home and watch more episodes of the “Untouchables”, he obviously thinks he is Elliot Ness and prohibition is the only way. What the hell year does he think this is,1930?? Sessions and people like him need to go!!
    if trump wants to fire someone Sessions is the one!!

  • lfofriley

    Sessions is going to get NOWHERE trying to go after legal marijuana states….unless of course he wants to start a civil war. They already took away ALL funding for going after legal pot so he doesn’t have ANY money for it….no one is killing of this cash cow for the government.

  • James crow

    Jeff Sessions lack of knowledge about Marijuana is inexcusable. If he knows nothing about Marijuana what does he know about other drugs (very little). Sessions is causing great harm to everyone who needs help, he should be removed from office and let Cannabis become legal thus saving billions of dollars and stop destroying the lives of so many. Marijuana prohibition laws are a raciest lie that is 80 years old, its time to end the lies.