Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Trump now backs marijuana 'states rights' bill, senator says

Trump now backs marijuana 'states rights' bill, senator says

Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said he and Trump had reached the agreement following the senator's pledge to block all Justice Department nominees until the president promised not to interfere in Colorado's legal marijuana industry.

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.

"With the President now reiterating this commitment, it is time for Congress to do its part and swiftly move forward bipartisan legislation that explicitly provides states with the authority and autonomy to set their own marijuana policies absent the fear of federal incursion".

Following Wednesday night's phone call with the President, the Senator is now backing down from his blockade. Gardner said Trump assured him he would support legislation "to fix this states' rights issue once and for all". "Late Wednesday, I acquired a dedication from the President that the Division of Justice's rescission of the Cole memo shouldn't be going to impression Colorado's licensed marijuana enterprise. Because of these commitments, I have informed the administration that I will be lifting my remaining holds on Department of Justice nominees". Only a fool would bet any money on it. "That campaign promise was not reflected by Trump's appointment of longtime marijuana prohibitionist Jeff Sessions to the position of Attorney General or any of the actions that Sessions has taken since becoming the nation's top law enforcement officer".

Cory Gardner has agreed on a deal with President Trump that would end his boycott of the Department of Justice (DOJ) nomination process over US Attorney General Jeff Sessions' directive to prosecute cannabis-related offenses federally.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

The January memo from Sessions stated that prosecutors should use their discretion in weighing whether charges were warranted, rather than abiding by the Obama-era guidance.

In a comment to the Washington Post on Friday, Trump's legislative affairs director, Marc Short said that the president, "does respect Colorado's right to decide for themselves how to best approach this issue", adding that he doesn't want this to seem like the president has caved to Gardner's demands, "we're reluctant to reward that sort of behavior".

But Trump has held a sharply different view from Sessions on the issue.

Gardner held up about 20 Justice nominees, a significant number considering Senate Republicans and the White House have for months accused Democrats of slowing down consideration of other Trump picks.

Meanwhile, legislation to guard countries in which marijuana is authorized is now being drafted. He has opposed decriminalizing the substance as an elected official.

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