Sessions Allows More Aggressive Enforcement of Federal Laws Against Marijuana

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded a policy that discouraged prosecutors from enforcing federal laws against marijuana in states that have decriminalized the drug, The New York Times reports. In a statement, Sessions said that his memo to United States attorneys directs them “to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country.” While marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the drug has been at least partly legalized—including for medicinal use—in 29 states and the District of Columbia. California began allowing the sale of recreational marijuana on January 1. Sessions’ move is likely to increase the confusion about whether it is legal to buy, sell or possess marijuana in states where federal and state law conflict, the article notes.

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The Opioid Epidemic May Be Even Deadlier Than We Think

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The opioid epidemic has led to the deadliest drug crisis in US history – even deadlier than the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s. Drug overdoses now cause more deaths than gun violence and car crashes. They even caused more deaths in 2015 than HIV/AIDS did at the height of the epidemic in 1995. A new study suggests that we may be underestimating the death toll of the opioid epidemic and current drug crisis. The study, conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), looked at 1,676 deaths in Minnesota’s Unexplained Death surveillance system (UNEX) from 2006 – 2015. The system is meant to refer cases with no clear cause of death to further testing and analysis. In total, 59 of the UNEX deaths, or about 3.5 percent, were linked to opioids. But more than half of these opioid-linked deaths didn’t show up in Minnesota’s official...

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