Trump strikes deal with top Senate Republican to protect legalized marijuana states

Trump, Gardner Strike Marijuana Deal After Sessions Memo Fallout

"Doing so would not only follow through one of Trump's campaign promises, but it would codify the will of the overwhelming majority of Americans". Gardner said in January he would block all DOJ nominations after Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo that heightened the prospect of a federal marijuana crackdown on states that had legalized it.

Although the decision didn't officially amount to an order to change course, it gave federal prosecutors in legal marijuana states the leeway to clamp down on cannabis.

"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 said in the statement.

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Sen. Cory Gardner was encouraged by Trump's announcement.

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Sessions has been a staunch opponent of marijuana legalization throughout his political career.

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President Trump was reportedly so enraged by an Federal Bureau of Investigation raid of his personal attorney's office and hotel that he is now on the brink of firing Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general he appointed, as well as Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"The President did speak with Senator Gardner yesterday and again today", Ms. Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Friday at the White House, adding, "the President is a firm believer" in states' rights. Under Sessions's approach, US attorneys in states where pot is legal were given approval to prosecute cases where they see fit. Many traditional investors have shied away from pouring their capital into the industry over fears they'd be treated like drug traffickers, and a strong sign of support from Trump over Congressional action might provide the reassurance they're seeking.

Since January, Gardner has been holding up the approval of around 20 nominees and has treated the issue like a hostage negotiation, agreeing in February to allow a few nominees to be considered as a show of "good faith" to Sessions. "Furthermore, President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states' rights issue once and for all". "So we're reluctant to reward that sort of behavior". Gardner and the Department of Justice have been in discussions for months to get the holds lifted. Gardner has been working on bipartisan legislation to prevent prosecution of people who obey marijuana laws in states like Colorado.

Senator Gardner reiterated that he and his colleagues "are continuing to work diligently on a bipartisan legislative solution (to the state/federal conflict) that can pass Congress and head to the President's desk". Jeff Sessions and other drug war hardliners in the administration might yet undermine the deal, just as anti-immigration hardliners in the White House scuttled Trump's seeming agreement to various deals on DACA.

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