Attorney General Continues to Push for Tougher Sentences for Drug Crimes
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been persistent in his push for federal and state officials to get tougher on drug crimes by pushing for maximum sentences. Most recently, he personally asked congressional leaders to allow him to prosecute providers of medical marijuana.
Federal protections for medical marijuana distributors have been in place since 2014. However, Sessions is now asking lawmakers to help him undo the protections so he can prosecute these providers. The protections as they currently exist prohibit the U.S. Department of Justice from using federal funds to prevent states from implementing their own laws regarding the use, possession, distribution and cultivation of medical marijuana.
Sessions is on record as saying the nation is “in the midst of an historic drug epidemic,” and that the Department of Justice must be able to use all available laws to combat drug use and abuse.
Marijuana advocates fight back
Advocates for the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana argue that the epidemic Sessions refers to does not involve marijuana, but is instead heavily dominated by opioids, such as heroin. There is considerable research to indicate overdoses caused by opiates decrease in states that have legalized medical marijuana. To that end, opponents of these harsher policies argue that removing medical marijuana protections could make the opioid epidemic even worse.
Additionally, medical marijuana protections have received widespread bipartisan support. In April, a Quinnipiac poll revealed 94 percent of the American public support medical marijuana protections — and that nearly 75 percent disapprove of the government enforcing federal law in states that have legalized marijuana for either medical or recreational use.
If you have been accused of a drug crime, you may have options to reduce or eliminate the charges levied against you. For further guidance, speak with skilled Reading criminal defense lawyer David R. Eshelman.