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Citizens for Justice and Peace

US Attorney General reinitiates “harmful” war on drugs

06, Jan 2018 | CJP Team

Human Rights Watch (HRW) advocacy director Jasmine L. Tyler, in a report titled ‘US Revives its Harmful Drug War’, wrote about how United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions is “reviving the US government’s out-of-date, ineffective, and counterproductive war on drugs.” Citing a report about Sessions reversing a marijuana policy from President Barack Obama’s administration, Tyler noted that Session said that “he will rescind the 2013 Cole Memo, which allowed federal prosecutors to choose not to prosecute marijuana offenses in the states that allow adults to consume it.” Currently, six US states permit adults to use marijuana recreationally; Tyler noted that Sessions’ move indicates that he “wants federal prosecutors to have much less leeway in deciding whether to enforce federal marijuana laws” in such states. Tyler noted that Sessions previously withdrew a former attorney general’s guidance “to keep low-level, nonviolent offenders out of prison,” and ended Obama’s 21st Century Policing practices, “put in place to curb excessive drug law enforcement.” According to Tyler, “Sessions’ combined actions will fuel arrests and mass incarceration in states and at the federal level. Every 25 seconds, someone in the United States is arrested for merely possessing drugs.” Tyler noted that “one in nine arrests at the state level is for drug possession,” but that, according to HRW, “this massive effort has had negligible impact on drug availability.” Tyler also noted that though whites and African Americans “use drugs at the same rates,” the latter ” are disproportionately targeted, arrested, and incarcerated for drug offenses.”

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