Republican Sen. Cory Gardner out of Colorado was furious over Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s decision to rescind the Cole Memo in January which implied that the Department of Justice would be prosecuting state legal marijuana businesses and consumers. Sen. Gardner had endorsed President Trump during his campaign to become president especially considering Trump promised to let state’s decide on the legalization of cannabis. The promise made Gardner feel like he was protecting his state of Colorado, one of the first state’s in the country to introduce marijuana legalization, but when Trump did nothing to stop Sessions from rescinding the Cole Memo, Gardner responded in kind.
Sen Gardner sits on the committee that nominates candidates to the Department of Justice and vowed to block all nominees until he was provided some sort of assurance that his state would be protected from federal prosecution of its cannabis industry. Part of the agreement with President Trump last week was in return for Trump making sure that Jeff Sessions did not go after the marijuana industry, Gardner would lift his embargo on DOJ nominees.
Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, also said in a statement Friday that “President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all.”
“It is a pleasant surprise that he is taking action to reign [sic] in Jeff Sessions,” said Adam Eidinger, co-founder of the Washington, D.C. decriminalization group DCMJ, said in an email this week.
“Since the campaign, President Trump has consistently supported states’ rights to decide for themselves how best to approach marijuana,” Gardner said. “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.”
Fixing the state’s rights issue once and for all concerning cannabis legalization is a remarkable statement and implies a great deal. The Cole Memo was the only thing really preventing the DOJ from going after state business and then there is the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment which strips funding from the DOJ to pursue state legal medical marijuana programs. Adding a layer of assurance through another form of legislation would provide even more confidence in the marijuana industry and likely see a lot more money come flooding into the industry.