The gilded bubble on the Potomac – Washington, D.C. – is abuzz about the Department of Justice Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions leads the Task Force. It is expected to release a report next week.
And some marijuana advocates worry it could bring bad news.
Here’s why: AG Sessions hates marijuana the way a vampire hates holy water. And the cannabis community fears he’ll use that report to link marijuana to violent crime.
Sessions is already on the warpath. In May, he sent congressional leaders a letter. In it, he asked them to do away with an amendment to the Justice Department budget.
That 2014 amendment prohibits the DOJ from using federal funds to prevent states “from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
In his letter, Sessions wrote: “I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime.”
Congress politely ignored Sessions on that one. Maybe they think he’s full of cabbage. Maybe because their own states are telling them otherwise. (I’ll get to that in a bit.)
First, let’s establish that what Jeff Sessions believes about marijuana is simply wrong. Study after study shows that legal marijuana does not increase violent crime.
In fact, a well-regulated industry can instead decrease crime rates by curtailing black-market cartels.
That’s according to wide list of sources that includes the states of Colorado, Oregon and Washington, plus the FB Freaking I. And other independent reports.
Sure, there are reports that say the opposite. Funny how you’ll find those reports funded by groups that want marijuana to stay illegal. Maybe so they can keep shoving addictive, deadly, EXPENSIVE drugs down the throats of desperate Americans.
Some 33,000 Americans died in 2015 from overdosing on prescription painkillers, heroin or similar drugs.
Do you know how many people died from marijuana overdoses during that time? ZERO!
Despite the facts, Sessions has fallen for that malarkey hook, line and sinker. And that’s why the cannabis community is afraid of the fallout for both recreational and medical marijuana.
The federal prohibition on marijuana already drags on the full social and economic benefits of legal cannabis. It keeps businesses from accessing basic banking services. Some businesses must deal entirely in cash.
Despite that, business is booming. Nevada is looking at $100 million just in marijuana tax revenue this year. Previously, the state faced a $40 million shortfall.
In Colorado, the state has harvested some $506 million in tax revenue since retail sales began in 2014. That’s more than half a billion dollars.
And that brings me to the real reason why Sessions’ ham-handed attempts to crack down on marijuana will fail …
States need the money.
Here’s a fun fact: A whopping 33 U.S. states reported they have collected fewer taxes than they projected for their budgets in 2017. That’s according to the National Association of State Budget Officers.
This is the most states reporting budget shortfalls since the Great Recession. It also marks two years in a row when the majority of states aren’t meeting their budgets.
Of the states falling short, at least 23 made budget cuts to get through the rest of this year.
Yet here are Nevada and Colorado, all tra-la-la with boatloads of marijuana tax money.
Others are following.
Alaska just legalized sales of recreational marijuana in October. California, Maine, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., have also legalized recreational marijuana. But those states’ retail sales have not begun.
On the other hand, medical marijuana is already legal in 29 states.
So that’s 29 out of 50 states that say AG Sessions is on the wrong side of history. 29 so far. At a time when President Trump needs all the allies he can get.
And that’s why any crackpot anti-cannabis recommendations he comes up with in his Crime Reduction Task Force should splatter on arrival.
Sessions may not be long for his job, anyway. President Trump has ripped the attorney general in recent tweets for being weak on Hillary Clinton.
And on Tuesday, new White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci dropped a bombshell. He said it is “probably” correct that President Trump wants Sessions gone.
Sessions says he doesn’t plan to quit. But if he’s fired, that will be a big weight off marijuana stocks. That might fuel a ripper of a rally.
Position yourself ahead of that. Marijuana stocks are already bouncing off recent lows. It won’t be long until they set their sights on new highs.
All the best,