02.14.2017
policy

Trump Vows 'Ruthless' War on Drugs; Sessions Signals Pot Is Chill

The informed stoner doesn’t know what to believe.

President Donald Trump and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions appear to be sending mixed signals on their drug enforcement intentions.

Key words from a speech Trump delivered Wednesday, February 8, to a convention of the Major Cities Chiefs Association included the terms ruthless, fight, drug cartels, liberate, and terrible grip of violence. Police chiefs and sheriffs from large cities across North America and the UK sat at attention as Trump assured the assembled law-enforcement professionals: “We're going to stop those drugs from poisoning our people. We're going to be ruthless in that fight. We have no choice. And we're going to take that fight to the drug cartels and work to liberate our communities from their terrible grip of violence.”

A day prior to Trump’s ruthless vow, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones met with Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Washington, D.C. Jones told reporters that Sessions confided he would maintain a chill attitude toward state-sanctioned marijuana markets.

Jones, who this past November lost a campaign to represent California’s 7th Congressional District, has also declared, in opposition to Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, that Sacramento County is not a sanctuary jurisdiction. In D.C. for a sheriff’s convention, the Congressional also-ran summarized his Tuesday, February 7, meeting with Sessions as indicating that nothing much would change—in the marijuana enforcement realm.

From Capitol Radio:

"Regarding the prioritization of federal resources to combat marijuana, he [Sessions] didn't see the federal government getting involved in marijuana use or low-level state, what are traditionally state and local crimes, but, I don't think he ruled out the possibility of the federal government getting involved in larger-scale operations."
The sheriff says those operations would include trafficking by drug cartels.

The mention of drug cartels is where Trump’s vow of a ruthless fight and Sessions’s pot complacency (reported secondhand) overlap. Like every entity under the law, drug cartels can be defined in many different ways. Expand the drug cartel category far enough, and its definition will include individuals and groups engaged in the cultivation, production, and sale of business-scale marijuana in states such a California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Beyond the cartel wordage, Sessions’s conception of “larger-scale operations” could very well be small enough to include any grow house of 100 or more plants, whether state sanctioned or not.

Trump's and the Attorney General's mixed messages add up to a single threat to Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

From the Washington Post:

“This rhetoric is dangerous, disturbing, and dishonest,” Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement. “History has taught us that cracking down on drugs and building walls will not stop the supply or use of drugs. It mostly causes the death and destruction of innocent lives.”

Trump’s White House, the Post notes, neglected to respond to repeated requests for comment and clarification. But look at this highlight in drug policing from December 2015, back during the enlightened administration of President Barack Obama, when the War on Drugs had been pulled back and declared a wash. Look for more Krispy Kreme prosecutions in your future.

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