In January of this year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo, which discouraged prosecutors from pursuing cases involving marijuana in states that had legalized it. Sessions got more than a little backlash – everyone from activists to politicians and industry officials in various states, among others – for this move.
It also prompted Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado to decide to withhold his nominees for the Department of Justice until a resolution on this issue was reached.
Nearly four months later, Senator Gardner has recently announced that he has confirmation from President Trump that the Department of Justice will not pursue the legal cannabis industry – meaning that states with legal cannabis laws should not be fearful of seeing their state-legal industries and revenue streams torn down by the federal government any time soon.
“Since the campaign, President Trump has consistently supported states’ rights to decide for themselves how best to approach marijuana,” Gardner said in a statement. “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.”
Gardner also noted that Justice Department Officials – including Sessions – were not a part of the conversation with the President, and White House officials and the agency has neglected to make a comment to him, or other news outlets.
“Because of these commitments, I have informed the Administration that I will be lifting my remaining holds on Department of Justice nominees,” Gardner added.
While Senator Gardner has decided to stop withholding his nominees after this most recent conversation with the president, not everyone is convinced that the agreement amounts to much. Democratic Representative Earl Blumenauer made a point to remind people that “Trump changes his mind constantly”, but that we should absolutely be hoping for the best in this situation. He also noted that the only true way to a resolution would be to land legislation on the President’s desk for signature.
“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,” Gardner said in a statement.
There are several bills in the legislature right now – many, if not all, with support from both sides of the political divide – so there is hope that a more permanent solution to protect states’ rights will be passed.