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Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential election.

Gage Skidmore

In a memo to the 94 U.S. Attorneys, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has directed the Justice Department Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety to review federal cannabis policies as part of a strategy to combat violent crime.

“Task Force subcommittees will…undertake a review of existing policies in the areas of charging, sentencing, and marijuana to ensure consistency with the Department’s overall strategy on reducing violent crime and with Administration goals and priorities,” Sessions wrote in the April 5 memo.

Last month, Sessions indicated that he may leave the 2013 Cole Memo – which effectively barred federal agencies from interfering with state cannabis laws – mostly intact; although he hinted at possible adjustments.

“The Cole Memorandum set up some policies under President Obama’s Department of Justice about how cases should be selected in those states and what would be appropriate for federal prosecution, much of which I think is valid,” he said. “I may have may have some different ideas myself in addition to [the memo].”

The Task Force and its subcommittees are expected to issue their recommendations to the Justice Department no later than July 27 – which means that if a federal crackdown in states with legal cannabis is looming it likely won’t be carried out before that date.

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