The Trump administration has faced a great deal of criticism-over quite a number of things, but also for the impending drug “crackdown” that has been promised by attorney general Jeff Sessions. This crackdown, of course, extends to marijuana as well, which Sessions has condemned as being only “slightly less awful” than heroin. In his anti-marijuana crusade, the attorney general has urged Congress to repeal states’ protections of their legal marijuana industries-thus opening them up to persecution from the federal government. Sessions has also recently announced an initiative that will encourage a higher occurrence of “asset forfeiture”-a practice wherein police can permanently take a person’s cash or belongings if they are suspected of a crime.
Now, marijuana and justice system reform advocates are holding their breath in wait of a report that is expected to be released from the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety next week. Advocates fear that the task force, led by Sessions himself, will recommend stricter regulations for the marijuana industry-as well as stiffer punishments. There are also great concerns that the task force will draw a link between marijuana and violent crime-a link that doesn’t exist.
Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii is making headlines for slamming the Trump administration on popular social networking site Twitter. It was through this medium that he harshly criticized the expected crackdown as “backward and inhumane.”
And he is certainly not alone in thinking so. Included in the massive backlash against Session’s firmly anti-marijuana stance are five New Yorkers, who are suing the attorney general. The New York Jets’ Marvin Washington is among the five plaintiffs named in the case. The suit is based on the plaintiffs’ assertion that marijuana’s current classification as a Schedule One drug is unconstitutional.
Schatz also accused this presidential administration to be moving backwards and undoing 8 years of progress that was observed under Obama’s presidency-which a lot of people credit to his administration’s relatively “hands-off” approach when it came to states’ rights on the matter.
The Department of Justice has yet to respond to the lawsuit, as well as recent criticism like that from Schatz.
Photo by Gage Skidmore