President Donald Trump on Thursday announced that the U.S. will end its war on marijuana.
He also vowed to “get tough” with criminals, adding that drug-related arrests will be reduced and “the death penalty will not be used to punish nonviolent drug offenders.”
The policy announcement comes a week after the president signed executive orders to move toward legalization of marijuana.
The Trump administration has made clear that the president does not intend to sign any new marijuana legalization bills, but his administration has put out several statements that signal that he will.
Last week, Trump signed a memorandum directing the Justice Department to review and, if appropriate, change its policies regarding marijuana possession in the United States.
“As a result of these actions, we will reduce the amount of marijuana seized by law enforcement,” Trump wrote.
“We will focus our efforts on enforcement of marijuana possession and will end the criminalization of marijuana.”
He added that he would also “close the ‘war on drugs’ as we know it.”
On Wednesday, Trump said he was “100 percent behind” the legalization of recreational marijuana, and he was speaking on the sidelines of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where he was addressing a crowd of delegates and supporters.
He said the “war on pot” is “a total failure.”
“I have a son who was arrested for marijuana possession.
That was his first offense.
He got two years in prison, which was pretty good,” Trump said.
“And I’ll tell you something, my son is an awesome guy.
He loves the game of football.
He’s an incredible player.
I love football.
And so I’m going to end it, and I’m doing it, in the same way I was doing it for two years, and it was a tremendous success, because he was doing so well, and then he was like, ‘Dad, it’s just not right anymore, it doesn’t work, it hurts, it kills, it takes away your life, it makes you so miserable.'”
The Trump family is reportedly planning to open a marijuana dispensary in their New York City home.
The president’s executive orders will make it harder for police to target black and brown communities for the first time, the administration announced.
The policies are aimed at reducing violence against law enforcement, but critics say the crackdown will backfire.
“If they end up doing this, they’ll just go back to the old days, and we’re back to a situation where we’re not going to be able to effectively deter criminals from committing crimes, because there’s no accountability,” John Brown, director of the Drug Policy Alliance, told CNN.
“The war on drug is a failure, it has failed miserably.”