Sessions Memo To US Attorneys Revives a Nearly Dead War On Drugs
Just as the rest of the civilized world is preparing to take steps into a progressive, marijuana themed future, US Attorney General has set drug reform policy back 30 years. In a two page memo to US Attorneys, Jeff Sessions unwound decades of reform by mandating prosecution of lesser drug crimes with maximum penalties. The failed policies of mandatory minimums were on their way out, until this week. Now US Attorneys will fill their plates with misdemeanor prosecutions leading to high penalties. The memo is just another example of how the Trump administration is set on walking back all the progress that has been made in criminal justice reform since the 1980s.
According to the memo, “it is a core principle that prosecutors should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense.” On the surface, this appears to be a memo suggesting to prosecute serious crime, however, in reality it is just the opposite. The ‘readily provable offense’ is a message to get whatever conviction you can be sure of. If you can’t really prove the guy murdered anyone, lock him up for a decade over weed. That is a more accurate interpretation of the memo’s intent.
Mandatory minimums are a big concern moving forward with this new Justice Department. Once thought to be a fix-all solution for drug crimes, mandatory minimums wound up catching people up in the justice system who genuinely didn’t belong there. They are inflexible; even the judge has no discretion when mandatory minimums are a factor. The end result is a flooded federal prison system, whose inmates are locked up on drug charges. The war on drugs was outed as a political scheme under Nixon to target the black and hippie communities. Proponents of the war on drugs, like Jeff Sessions, cling to age old debunked propaganda to further a secret agenda. In this case the motivation is not public safety, but bankrolling the private prison system.
The private prison system is the epitome of American capitalism gone wrong. When you make a profit by locking up fellow human beings over petty crimes, you are the one who deserves to be locked in a cell. Jeff Sessions is a full advocate of the private prison system, and he makes no attempt to hide it. Sessions threw out Obama era reforms that were geared at moving away from private prisons. According to Sessions, private prisons expand the federal governments ability to house prisoners, despite the fact that its a lie. Private prisons are only sustainable when full, and the only way to fill them is with drug crimes.
The entire Trump administration seems to be nothing more than a corporate money grab. The new Sessions memo seems to prove that. When you bring back failed programs that have been shown to solely benefit one group, the motivation becomes obvious. The Sessions memo has effectively bound the hands of US Attorneys which will ultimately bring us back to an outdated era of criminal justice. Only in America do the hands of progress wind backwards.
Cory Hughes is a former police officer turned cannabis cultivator and writer. After years of being on the wrong side of the law, Cory decided to hang up his badge and gun and move into an industry that truly has the potential of bringing people together. He has been an active part of the Colorado cannabis culture and has worked as a horticulturist in dozens of licensed grow operations. Cory now looks to share his knowledge of cultivation and horticulture with the world.