Task force tells AG Sessions to keep status quo for legal cannabis

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A task force assembled by Attorney General Jeff Sessions is giving him no ammunition to go after the legal marijuana industry, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety has offered no new policy recommendations to advance the attorney general’s aggressively anti-marijuana views.

The group’s report largely reiterates the current Department of Justice’s policy on marijuana.

The task force encourages officials to keep studying whether to change or rescind the Obama administration’s hands-off approach to enforcement – a stance that’s allowed the nation’s experiment with legal cannabis to flourish.

The report was not slated to be released publicly, but portions were obtained by the AP.

The tepid nature of the recommendations signals just how difficult it would be for the DOJ to change course on cannabis.

Rather than urging federal agents to shut down dispensaries and make mass arrests, the task force puts forth a more familiar approach.

In its report, the task force:

  • Recommends that officials continue to oppose rules like the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment that block the Justice Department from interfering with medical marijuana programs in states where MMJ is allowed.
  • Suggests that the Justice Department team with Treasury officials to offer guidance to financial institutions, telling them to implement robust anti-money laundering programs and report suspicious transactions. That is already required by federal law.
  • Tells officials to develop “centralized guidance, tools and data related to marijuana enforcement,” two years after the Government Accountability Office told the Justice Department it needs to better document how it’s tracking the effect of marijuana legalization in the states.
  • Most critically, recommends officials “should evaluate whether to maintain, revise or rescind” a set of Obama-era memos that allowed states to legalize marijuana on the condition – among other stipulations – that officials act to keep marijuana from migrating to places where it is still outlawed and out of the hands of criminal cartels and children. Any changes to the policy could impact the way states operate.

– Associated Press