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The Justice Department May Be Planning a Marijuana Crackdown

July 24, 2017, 3:39 PM UTC

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made no secret of his feelings about marijuana legalization. Now he may be poised to kill the buzz of pot enthusiasts—legal and otherwise.

The Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety is expected to issue a report next week that advocates believe will link cannabis use to violent crime, and will call for tougher sentences for growers, sellers and users.

An April memo from Sessions signaled tougher enforcement is on the way. In it, he wrote, “Task Force subcommittees will also undertake a review of existing policies in the areas of charging, sentencing, and marijuana to ensure consistency with the Department’s overall strategy on reducing violent crime and with Administration goals and priorities.”

Sessions has also asked Congress to rescind a Justice Department budget amendment that stops the agency from using federal funds to block states from implementing their own marijuana legalization bills, both medical and recreational. (Twenty-nine states allow medical marijuana usage, while eight, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized recreational use.)

Sessions’ crackdown would be at odds with public opinion. Sixty percent of Americans support its legalization, while 94% say doctors should be able to prescribe it for medical purposes.