GOP Lawmaker: Trump Administration Pledges Non-Interference In Legal Marijuana States

Aaron Brown
April 14, 2018

On Friday, Gardner announced he had a deal with Trump that would allow him to lift the hold on the Justice nominees.

Gardner in response used his power in the Senate to stop consideration of new nominees to the Department of Justice.

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

Gardner has been pushing to reverse a decision made by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in January that removed prohibitions that kept federal prosecutors from pursuing cases against people who were following pot laws in states such as Colorado that have legalized the drug.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders affirmed the accounts of the president's thinking of Gardner - but Sessions' reaction wasn't immediately known. During the presidential campaign, Trump said in an interview with KUSA-TV in Colorado that he said "it's up to the states" on the marijuana issue.

This seems more like Gardner was receiving pressure from Republicans to end his stand, but he needed some minor concession from Trump to do so.

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

Gardner says Trump also told him that he supports a legislative solution to protecting states that have legalized pot. Senator Gardner had pledged to block all Department of Justice (DOJ) nominees after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era guidance that provided some protections for cannabis businesses that were legal under state law.

The attorney general and Trump have had a frosty relationship for months, largely over Trump's continued resentment that Sessions recused himself from any involvement into the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

A leader of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., called the commitment Gardner secured from Trump "another head-spinning moment". From the birth of our regulated medical marijuana market in 2010 to the opening of the adult-use market in 2014, we have sought to be the model for responsible cannabis regulation. "Trump changes his mind constantly, and Republican leadership is still in our way". When states like Colorado passed ballot initiatives legalizing recreational marijuana, the government decided it wast time to update its policies.

Trump "does respect Colorado's right to decide for themselves how to best approach this issue", White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said in an interview Friday.

When he selected Sessions, a former federal prosecutor and USA senator from Alabama, as his attorney general, marijuana supporters girded themselves for a crackdown.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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