As part of Attorney General Jeff Sessions‘ renewed war on pot, he put together a task force to help devise a plan on how to deal with states that have already legalized the plant, but it looks like were not going to be seeing their findings anytime soon. According to a report from the Associated Press, Sessions and his task force didn’t quite see eye to eye.
The group of experts couldn’t come up with any new recommendations on how Sessions should proceed and largely reinforced current marijuana policy, according to a report obtained by the AP.
[The report] encourages officials to keep studying whether to change or rescind the Obama administration’s more hands-off approach to enforcement — a stance that has allowed the nation’s experiment with legal pot to flourish.
The task force suggestions are not final, and Sessions is in no way bound by them. The government still has plenty of ways it can punish weed-tolerant states, including raiding pot businesses and suing states where the drug is legal, a rare but quick path to compliance. The only one who could override a drastic move by Sessions is President Donald Trump, whose personal views on marijuana remain mostly unknown.
Sessions, who has compared pot to heroin, has generated huge opposition to his plans to breathe new life into the nation’s failed drug war, leaving many to fear what his plans will bring for an industry that’s rocketing towards legitimacy. But as the AP points out, the task force’s findings “signals just how difficult it would be to change course on pot.”
“If they come out with a more progressive, liberal policy, the attorney general is just going to reject it. They need to convince the attorney general that the recommendations are the best they can do without embarrassing the entire department by implementing a policy that fails,” said John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who studies marijuana law and was interviewed by the task force.
Don Murphy, the director of conservative outreach at the Marijuana Policy Project, praised the task force’s findings, saying they show “that the Dept. of Justice has more important priorities than harassing legitimate, taxpaying businesses.”
Although many still fear an impending crackdown on pot, the report suggest that current pot policy will remain in place for at least the time being.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore