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Federal marijuana policy: A wake-up call

| Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (AP Photo)
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (AP Photo)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions probably didn't see this one coming: A task force he convened “to find the best legal strategy” for a renewal of counterproductive, “Reefer Madness”-style federal marijuana policy “is giving him no ammunition,” The Associated Press reports.

The AP, which obtained portions of a report regarding marijuana that the prosecutors and federal law enforcement officials on the task force didn't intend for public release, reports it “largely reiterates the current Justice Department policy on marijuana” — which amounts to failed prohibition and remains based on scientifically unsound classification that equates cannabis with heroin. The report says officials “should evaluate whether to maintain, reverse or rescind” Obama-era memos that have kept the Justice Department away from state-level medical and recreational legalization, but doesn't suggest which direction to take.

The status quo isn't great but is preferable to the crackdown Mr. Sessions wants — and likely was counting on the task force to justify. That it apparently isn't providing him with such crackdown justification bolsters hopes that the federal government will adopt the rational, commonsense approach with which states increasingly are succeeding: legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana.

If nothing else, this report should help Sessions save himself from implementing a prohibition that surely would fail — and countless, otherwise law-abiding Americans from pointless prosecution.

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