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  • ‘There’s been too much legalization talk,’ says Sessions

    The attorney general doubles down on drugs-violence link, the DEA chief says 'marijuana is not medicine,' and more in today's newsletter.

    May 26, 2017

    ‘Drugs and crime go together.’ Attorney general Jeff Sessions continues to argue that drugs and crime are closely linked. In a speech he gave in Memphis, Tenn. he argued that a recent “surge” in violent crime was tied to a decrease in drug prosecutions by the Obama administration.

  • Pharma company hopes to capitalize on cannabis compound for epilepsy

    Promising results for CBD as an epilepsy treatment, the story of a Texas teen who lost his life in the war on drugs, and more in today's newsletter.

    May 25, 2017

    Study indicates CBD’s effectiveness. The first “rigorous test” of a plant-derived CBD drug on epilepsy was a success for GW Pharmaceuticals — the manufacturers of the drug called Epidiolex. A study published Wednesday found that CBD reduced the number of seizures in epileptic children. The Associated Press The trial involved 120 patients.

  • Vermont governor vetoes marijuana legalization bill

    Phil Scott said no to a historic piece of legislation, Trump commends Duterte's "unbelievable job" in the drug war, and more in today's newsletter.

    May 24, 2017

    Vermont governor vetoes legalization bill. The state could’ve become the first in the nation to legalize cannabis through the legislature. But Republican governor Phil Scott vetoed a historic marijuana legalization bill. Scott said he was not “philosophically opposed” to adult-use legalization but was concerned about highway and child safety.

  • Trump’s proposed budget keeps ONDCP, lacks MMJ protections

    A look at president Trump's budget, a Sessions memo from the '80s is worrisome for criminal justice reforms, and more in today's newsletter.

    May 23, 2017

    White House will keep the ONDCP. The Trump administration was considering a 95 percent budget cut for the Office of National Drug Control Policy. After backlash from members of Congress, the White House will propose small cuts to the drug-free communities program (a $3 million cut) and high-intensity drug trafficking program (a $6 million cut).

  • Veterans group appeals to Trump to reclassify marijuana

    American Legion requested a meeting with Kushner, prosecutors and state AGs push back against Sessions, and more in today's newsletter.

    May 22, 2017

    Veterans appeal to Trump for medical marijuana. The American Legion, a conservative veterans’ group, is appealing to the Trump administration to reclassify cannabis to open up research on the drug. It has requested a meeting with Jared Kushner to “seek support from the president” on the issue. The national director for veterans affairs for the organization said,

  • Former prosecutor says drug-war tactics are ‘a total failure’

    US states pursue reforms as Trump administration does the opposite. This and more in today's newsletter.

    May 19, 2017

    States continue with criminal justice reforms. While attorney general Jeff Sessions pursues a policy to incarcerate more people for longer sentences, states are moving ahead with the opposite strategy. More than 30 states have taken steps to reduce incarceration rates, like investing in drug treatment programs. The New York Times Louisiana is poised to pass a historic criminal justice overhaul in an effort to reduce its incarceration rate —

  • Trump’s constant scandals could hinder cannabis reform in Congress

    But there's growing bipartisan support for the issue as lawmakers push bills to end prohibition and bring banks to the industry. This and more in today's newsletter.

    May 18, 2017

    Cannabis at the Capitol. A bipartisan group of 11 lawmakers are co-sponsoring a bill to end federal prohibition. Introduced in February, House rep. Thomas Garrett (R-Va.) held a press conference on the legislation, explaining how he came around to the issue. Formerly a criminal prosecutor who enforced marijuana laws “quite vigorously,”

  • Even conservative evangelicals are criticizing Sessions

    Everyone from Pat Robertson to Willie Nelson is speaking out against the attorney general. This and more in today's newsletter.

    May 17, 2017

    Criticism of Sessions comes from all corners. Criticism of attorney general Jeff Sessions is mounting after his memo bringing back harsh drug sentencing. A former federal prosecutor and judge say the policies “led to scandalous racial disparities. They have caused untold misery at great expense. And they have not made us safer.”

  • DAs thought legal weed in Colorado had ‘everybody smoking and civilization collapsing’

    Misinformed district attorneys, religious advocates of marijuana, and more in today's newsletter.

    May 16, 2017

    Opining on Sessions. The attorney general’s recent memo puts the federal criminal justice system at odds with states that have more enlightened policies. States that have reduced their prison populations significantly have seen simultaneous declines in violent and property crime. USA Today Sessions’ sentencing crackdown is limited in scope: criminal justice is primarily dealt with on a state and local level.

  • Criminal justice reform was a bipartisan cause, until Sessions

    Senator Rand Paul was one of the few Republicans to criticize the attorney general's new policy. This and more in today's newsletter.

    May 15, 2017

    Sessions’ new policy threatens bipartisan reform efforts. Attorney general Jeff Sessions’ recent directive to toughen up against drug offenders was no surprise. But the move comes after liberals and conservatives had come together on the issue of criminal justice reform: “It ran so contrary to the growing bipartisan consensus coursing through Washington and many state capitals in recent years.”