In an apparent swipe at embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions, President Trump agreed on Friday to protect states’ marijuana laws from federal interference. Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado announced that he had struck a deal with the president after a three-month of a blockade on US Dept. of Justice nominees.
The agreement is a major victory for the nine states that have legalized recreational cannabis and the 29 states with medical marijuana programs. It also signals yet another defeat for longtime drug warrior Sessions, who rescinded Obama-era policies to protect states’ rights.
In exchange for Trump’s agreement, Gardner will end his blockade of nominees. Gardner began his legislative blockage in January after Sessions’ federal overreach.
Gardner’s full statement reads:
“Since the campaign, President Trump has consistently supported states’ rights to decide for themselves how best to approach marijuana. Late Wednesday, I received a commitment from the President that the Department of Justice’s rescission of the Cole memo will not impact Colorado’s legal marijuana industry. Furthermore, President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all.
“Because of these commitments, I have informed the Administration that I will be lifting my remaining holds on Department of Justice nominees. My colleagues and I are continuing to work diligently on a bipartisan legislative solution that can pass Congress and head to the President’s desk to deliver on his campaign position.”
Marc Short, the White House’s director of legislative affairs told the Washington Post — which broke the news — that Trump “does respect Colorado’s right to decide for themselves how to best approach this issue” regarding cannabis regulation.
“Clearly, we’ve expressed our frustration with the delay with a lot of our nominees and feel that too often, senators hijack a nominee for a policy solution,” Short told the Post. “So we’re reluctant to reward that sort of behavior. But at the same time, we’re anxious to get our team at the Department of Justice.”