Task force report does not make the case for AG Sessions’ cannabis crackdown

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Task force report does not make the case for AG Sessions’ cannabis crackdown

Logan Lowrey-Rasmussen

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Attorney General Sessions’ Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety came up with no new conclusions or recommendations to forward the anti-cannabis policies, the Associated Press reported Friday.

The group’s report reiterates the Obama administration’s memo on a hands-off approach to cannabis enforcement, and encourages officials to weigh in on changing or rescinding the decision. It said officials should continue to oppose rules which block the Justice Department from interfering with medical cannabis programs. Sessions unsuccessfully wrote Congress in May requesting them to strip those protections.

The report also suggested the Justice Department team up with treasury officials to offer guidance to financial institutions, and implement anti-money laundering programs which would report cannnabis-related transactions.

Sessions promised to reconsider existing cannabis policy since he took office six months ago. A bipartisan group of senators urged Sessions to uphold existing cannabis policy in March.

“The vague recommendations may be intentional, reflecting an understanding that shutting down the entire industry is neither palatable nor possible,” said John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who studies cannabis law and was interviewed by members of the task force.

The task force suggestions are not final, and Sessions cannot be bound by them. The federal government still possesses measures to punish states with legal cannabis, including raiding businesses and suing legal states.

The executive summary of the report said its work continues and its recommendations  “do not comprehensively address every effort that the Department is planning or currently undertaking to reduce violent crime.”