To the relief of California’s infant recreational cannabis industry, a federal task force convened by Attorney General—and marijuana foe—Jeff Sessions fails to justify a crackdown on states that have legalized marijuana.
A task force convened by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to study the link between marijuana and violent crime has issued no new recommendations to prosecute pot, according to documents obtained from The Associated Press this weekend.
Legalization advocates had feared that the Justice Department’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety would provide the fiercely anti-marijuana Sessions with reasons for a federal crackdown. But to the relief of California’s infant recreational cannabis industry, the task force’s report suggested only that officials keep studying Obama administration-era regulations that let states largely do what they want when it comes to marijuana.
Sessions, who once compared marijuana use to heroin, could still disrupt state marijuana operations regardless of the task force’s findings. Last week, reports emerged that Sessions had sent letters to the governors of Colorado, Oregon and Washington raising serious questions about whether legal marijuana operations in their states violate Obama-era protocols.
One justification Sessions could use for a federal crackdown: whether cannabis grown in states with legalized pot finds its way to black markets elsewhere in the country. That could very well be a problem for California, where some analyses have found that 80 percent of California-grown marijuana illegally leaves the state.