Are Harsh Mandatory Minimum Sentences Making a Comeback?
WASHINGTON (AP) — Justice Department officials have been weighing new guidance that would encourage prosecutors to charge suspects with the most serious offenses they can prove, a reversal of Obama-era policies that aimed to reduce the federal prison population and show more leniency to lower-level drug offenders.
If embraced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, this could result in an increased use of rigid mandatory minimum sentences that critics have called unnecessarily harsh.
The guidance is taking shape in the form of a memo that ultimately will be shared with the nation’s federal prosecutors, but the timeframe for release is unclear. Drafts of the memo have been circulating for weeks and have undergone revisions, so the final language is not yet certain.
A person involved in the discussions described one version to The Associated Press speaking only on condition of anonymity because the guidance has not been publicly announced. As outlined, that version would encourage prosecutors to charge people with the most serious, provable offenses – something more likely to trigger mandatory minimum sentences. Those rules limit a judge’s discretion and are typically dictated, for example, by the quantity of drugs involved in a crime.
Jeff Sessions Is Throwing Down the Gauntlet—He Wants a New Drug War
Apart from being an irrational anti-pot fanatic, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is functioning in a highly unstable government, which is obsessed with methodically dismantling anything and everything that has the slightest hint of President Barack Obama.
One late night comedian joked that if Trump could revive all the turkeys Obama pardoned over the years, he would. It’s that bad.
Now, AG Sessions has decided to review Obama-era policies that eliminated harsh punishments for low-level drug crimes.
Sessions’ directive, to be introduced in a memo, will encourage prosecutors to charge people with the most serious, provable offenses in order to trigger mandatory minimum sentences.
Did Congress Leave These 2 States Open to a Medical Marijuana Crackdown?
Legally speaking, nowhere in America is medical marijuana more at risk of falling victim to a Donald Trump-led federal crackdown than in Indiana and North Dakota.
Not that there’s much in the way of medical cannabis in either state at the moment—or any legal marijuana all, really. The two red states are very recent converts: North Dakota has just begun to try to figure out how to deliver medical marijuana to the voters who approved it at the ballot on Election Day—with the first legal crop available to no more than a few thousand patients, and that is in a year’s time or more.
And in Indiana, home state of Vice President Mike Pence—where the mere sight of legally purchased marijuana edibles sets off a regional panic and where the ACLU has to become involved just so local marijuana activists can have a rally—Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has just signed into law a bill allowing CBD products only (which is to say that Texas is further along on medical weed than Indiana).
President Trump’s Troubling ‘Bromance’ with Philippines’ Drug War Strongman
The Philippines’ inimitable President Rodrigo Duterte is being his usual charming self.
The United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, arrived in the country on May 5 to attend a conference on drug policy and human rights at the University of the Philippines. Callamard is of course a harsh critic of Duterte’s campaign of police and paramilitary terror against low-level drug dealers and users.
Duterte wasted not a moment in voicing defiance, warning drug users: “And here’s the shocker: I will kill you. I will really kill you. And that’s why the rapporteur of the UN is here, investigating extrajudicial killing.”
Speaking at the unlikely venue of a convention of orthopedic surgeons in Davao City, where he was accused of running death squads when he served as mayor there, he added: “[O]nce you get involved in drugs, I will kill you. I will ambush you, poison you, bomb you, whatever. Steal your wife from you.”
Nevada Can Begin To Sell Recreational Marijuana Early
Licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in good standing with the state of Nevada can begin selling marijuana for recreational purposes as early as July 1, the state tax board voted Monday.
The Nevada Tax Commission voted 6-1 to approve temporary licenses for shops that qualify so sales can begin months before the Jan. 1 deadline for the commission to draft its rules. These temporary licenses will expire on Jan. 1, giving the state Department of Taxation time to test the regulations before the program goes into full effect in 2018
Trump to Congress: I’ll Do What I Want about Medical Marijuana
It’s not easy keeping up with Trump’s contradictions, bizarre bragging, blatant lies and general ignorance of how government functions. And, yeah, the fact that he doesn’t seem to realize there’s this document called the Constitution.
The list is endless, but let’s zero in on an issue that is near and dear to us: the recent budget appropriations bill, which we thought contained a clear provision that barred the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state laws regarding the use of medical marijuana.
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