Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Trump, senator strike deal on legalized marijuana

Trump, senator strike deal on legalized marijuana

In January, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era guidelines directing federal prosecutors not to take action against those who were compliant with state-sanctioned cannabis regulations.

"Because of these commitments, I have informed the Administration that I will be lifting my remaining holds on Department of Justice nominees", Senator Gardner added.

"Since the campaign, President Trump has consistently supported states' rights to decide for themselves how best to approach marijuana", Gardner said.

Gardner said on Friday he received a commitment from Trump that the rescission "will not impact Colorado's legal marijuana industry".

In February, Gardner lifted most of the holds he put on the Justice nominees the month before.

Erik Altieri, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said Sessions' hiring did not reflect Trump's promise to protect state's rights.

Will Trump's assurances prove to be similar to Jeff Sessions' assurances?

Gardner hopes to introduce bipartisan legislation in Congress keeping the federal government from interfering in state marijuana markets.

A SEPT. 20 2017 FILE
Sen. Cory Gardner was encouraged by Trump's announcement

While more than half of the US states have approved marijuana for medical or recreational use, it is still illegal under federal law.

Following Wednesday night's phone call with the President, the Senator is now backing down from his blockade. During the 2016 campaign, Colorado reporter Brandon Rittman asked Trump whether he would enforce the federal ban on cannabis in states that had legalized, to which Trump responded, "I wouldn't do that, no..."

Gardner called out both Sessions and Trump on the Senate floor shortly after Sessions announced his decision in January, evoking the president's past remarks on the campaign trail about states' rights while reminding the AG of their past discussions on the issue before the Senate confirmed Sessions in 2017.

"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 said.

Department leaders have "shown in good faith their willingness to provide what I think will be hopefully the protections we sought, and as sort of a good faith gesture on my behalf I'll be releasing a limited number of nominees", Gardner told The Associated Press on Friday.

In addition to Gardner's holds, DOJ has faced notable bipartisan pushback from Capitol Hill when it comes to marijuana. The Washington Post reported in August that Sessions' DOJ was effectively hamstringing the agency's research efforts by making it harder to grow marijuana.

Former House Speaker John Boehner, a staunch anti-legalization lawmaker, made the decision to change course on cannabis after he joined the board of directors of Acreage Holdings, a New York-based cultivator that operates in 11 states. He has opposed decriminalizing the substance as an elected official.

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