Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently sent a memo to U.S. Attorneys. In it, he asked for a review of law enforcement practices. The stated goal of the review is to identify ways to reduce violent crimes. Especially relevant, the memo also requested a review of the way cannabis laws are being enforced.
The memo was dated April 5, 2017, and was sent to all U.S. Attorneys. It outlined a plan to review current law enforcement practices to decrease violent crime.
“Combating violent crime is a priority of this Administration,” the memo said. It went on to explain that Sessions had created a committee to look into ways to fight violent crime.
In the memo, Sessions said he wanted to hold a National Summit on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. His goal is to have the meeting within 120 days.
Sessions wrote that the summit would allow law enforcement agencies to strategize plans for cracking down on violent crimes.
Review Of Cannabis Law Enforcement
The memo listed a handful of specific areas of focus. Specifically, they included “violent crime, such as gun crime, drug trafficking, and gang violence.”
It also mentioned cracking down on hate crimes based on religious background. In addition, Sessions wrote that he wants the task force to “also focus on immigration enforcement and human trafficking.”
Interestingly, there isn’t much about drugs beyond the general reference to “drug trafficking.” Sessions did, however, mention one drug specifically: marijuana.
In the document, Sessions asked for “a review of existing policies in the areas of charging, sentencing, and marijuana.”
He also asked agencies to review “our use of asset forfeiture.” These laws allow law enforcement agencies to seize money and property if officials suspect they were used in a drug crime. Asset forfeiture has become a key element of the U.S.’s war on drugs.
Jeff Sessions And Cannabis
Jeff Sessions has drawn a lot of attention for his views on cannabis. In 2016, Sessions spoke at a meeting of lawmakers. He said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
Last month he spoke to a group of law enforcement officials. During his speech, he railed against cannabis.
He said that weed is “only slightly less awful” than heroin. And he went on to say that medical marijuana “had been hyped, maybe too much.”
The anti-cannabis sentiments expressed by Sessions have also been echoed recently by White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
In February he said that under Trump’s Administration there could be “greater enforcement” of federal weed laws.
In this context, it is unclear exactly what Sessions’ memo will mean for cannabis law enforcement. Similarly, it is also unclear why marijuana was the only drug his memo specifically mentioned.
Is this memo the first step toward a federal crackdown on weed? We’ll have to wait and see.