The Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, a group of prosecutors and federal law enforcement officials, has come up with no new policy recommendations to advance Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ aggressively anti-marijuana views, reports Sadie Gurman at the Associated Press. The group’s report largely reiterates the current Justice Department policy on marijuana.
The task force asked for continued study and dialogue on the issue. The recommendations are meant to inform ongoing policy decisions and are non-binding.
New Aggressive Posture Towards Cannabis By Trump Administration
Since August 2013, DOJ policy has been not to enforce federal marijuana laws against individuals or businesses in states that are complying with state medical or adult-use marijuana laws, provided that one of eight federal priorities is not implicated.
In 2014, Congress passed an amendment to an omnibus spending bill that prevented the Justice Department from spending any resources to interfere with state-legal medical marijuana laws. This amendment was subsequently renewed, but it now stands to expire on Sept. 30 unless it is approved in a congressional conference committee or Congress fails to pass a budget.
One gets the distinct feeling that Atty. Gen. Sessions wanted his Task Force to provide him with a rationale for a crackdown, but it seems, interestingly enough, that they’ve demurred.
Trump: ‘I Think It’s Bad and I Feel Strongly About That’
While on the campaign trail, Trump was asked his view on state marijuana policy reform, and he often said it should be a states’ rights decision. But when asked about Colorado’s recreational legalization in 2015, Trump said:
“I’d say it’s bad. Medical marijuana is another thing, but I think it’s bad and I feel strongly about that… They have got a lot of problems going on right now in Colorado. Some big problems.
Since the election, Trump’s position has erratically vacillated all over the map, apparently depending upon to whom he’s talking and what he thinks they want to hear.
Twenty-nine states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted effective medical marijuana laws. Marijuana is legal and regulated for adults in eight states, and adult possession and limited home cultivation are legal in the District of Columbia.
According to an April poll conducted by Quinnipiac University, 73 percent of U.S. voters “oppose government enforcement of federal laws against marijuana in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana.”
Ninety-four percent of U.S. voters support allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes, and 60 percent support making marijuana legal in the United States.
DOJ Has More Important Priorities“The task force’s recommendations reflect the fact that the Department of Justice has more important priorities than harassing legitimate, taxpaying businesses,” said Don Murphy, director of conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “In states that have approved marijuana for medical or adult use, these businesses are creating jobs, generating revenue, protecting consumers, and making their communities safer.
“The vast majority of Americans want the federal government to let states determine their own marijuana policies,” Murphy said. We hope the attorney general is paying attention and maintains the current policy of non-interference.”