The Trump administration is planning to crack down on marijuana use across the country, an effort spearheaded by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. A report is expected later this week exploring a link between marijuana use and violent crime, and details plans to create tougher sentences for those caught growing, selling and smoking the drug, according to The Hill.
Although the Department of Justice is eager to act on enforcing a federal law that says marijuana use is illegal in all 50 states, not all persons approve of the effort. Currently, 8 states and the District of Columbia have laws allowing for the recreational use of marijuana; 21 states allow the use of medical marijuana, according the Marijuana Policy Project.
Some say the effort to enforce a crackdown may lead to more violence and greater costs incurred by agencies. Ron Serpas, former superintendent of the New Orleans Police Department and co-chairman of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, agrees.
“From a practitioner’s point of view, marijuana is not a drug that doesn’t have some danger to it, but it’s not the drug that’s driving violent crime in America,” he said.
He added, “That’s not the drug with which we see so much death and destruction on the streets of America. Crack and powdered cocaine, heroin and opioids is where we’re seeing people die on street corners fighting over territory or control.”
The issue may spur a “state’s-rights” argument that may cause discord in the Republican party, says The Hill. Some senators have already openly commented on the need to protect state’s rights from federal control.
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), for example, in May publicly criticized Sessions for reversing an Obama-era guideline on criminal charges and sentencing, and has said he’s not a fan of the Department of Justice interfering with state policies regulating marijuana use.
“I will oppose anybody from the administration or otherwise that wants to interfere with state policy,” he said.
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