Many have wondered where President Donald Trump stands on the matter of cannabis reform. Since taking office, Trump has waffled between and around positions, largely avoiding taking stand on marijuana legalization and decriminalization. While some have suggested that Trump would be behind any federal legislation around reform, this is also the guy who appointed Jeff Sessions, known prohibitionist, as Attorney General.
But in a new interview on the Cannabis Economy podcast, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said that Trump was very much against Sessions’ anti-cannabis agenda. According to Marijuana Moment, Trump privately pushed back against the former AG on the day he rescinded the Cole Memorandum, the policy that discouraged federal prosecutors from going after cannabis in legal states.
When Gardner approached Trump on that day to inform the President his opposition to rolling back the Cole Memo, Trump interrupted him before he could finish. “We need [to] undo this” and “[Sessions] needs to stop this,” Trump reportedly told Gardner. “This sounds like something my grandpa said in the 1950s,” Trump allegedly said.
— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) February 22, 2019
“It was very clear to me at that point that there was a disagreement between the president and the attorney general on this,” Gardner said.
Garnder’s conversations with Trump eventually led to the President publicly declaring his support for the STATES Act, the bipartisan cannabis legislation that would protect states legalizing and regulating cannabis without interference from the federal government.
While Gardner called Trump an “ally,” it also remains the case that Trump hasn’t really pushed the issue either way. He could’ve demanded the Cole Memo be reinstated, but did not. He could truly rally Republicans behind supporting the STATES Act, but has offered only tacit approval instead. A more accurate label perhaps would be Trump is “neutral” on cannabis—he won’t get in the way, but he’s not going to exactly help matters either.