Earlier this month, Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) elicited a pledge from President Trump to respect the rights of states to set their own marijuana policies. This came after Gardner set up a blockade of the administration’s Justice Department nominees in response to the revocation of the fabled “Cole Memo” in early January of this year by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
On the heels of the pledge from Trump, Gardner is joining with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to introduce legislation that would reform federal marijuana laws, giving states clearance to decide their own laws on the subject.
“I do believe he[Trump] will be true to his word, and certainly has over the last several weeks since the agreement was entered into remained true to that word,” Gardner told Yahoo News. “His commitment was reconfirmed multiple times by the White House legislative director, Marc Short, as well as Sarah Huckabee Sanders during the live press briefing carried on national television. This is something the president has agreed to. I believe he will hold to his end of the bargain.”
The new legislation will join The Marijuana Justice Act and other cannabis law reform measures currently in various phases of development in the U.S. Senate.
As to whether Trump will keep his word and support some sort of reform, much remains to be seen. It’s safe to say that Trump’s governing style is, at times, erratic. This is all the more reason to keep this story in the public eye and apply as much pressure to his decision as possible. This is not to say that Trump is perusing cannabis news to see what we are saying about him – but it is to say that whatever pressure we can muster at the federal level on this issue is much better than no pressure at all. If nothing else, it has led to great strides in Congressional support.
“There were no stipulations that he [Trump] placed on it but that doesn’t mean once we get our bill drafted — which we’re in the process of, talking to Republicans and Democratic members of the Senate who are involved on this issue — they may not embrace the language fully,” Gardner said. “They may want some tweaks. We’ll see how that goes, but I don’t envision the president changing his mind generally from the idea of letting the states make this decision.”
If President Trump ends up supporting some sort of federal policy that reverts power back to the states on cannabis policy, it will easily be the biggest event in the short history of marijuana law reform.