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April 13, 2018

"President Trump has promised a top Senate Republican that he will support congressional efforts to protect states that have legalized marijuana"

The title of this post is the lead sentence of this new Washington Post article headlined "Trump, Gardner strike deal on legalized marijuana, ending standoff over Justice nominees." Here is more from the article:

In January, the Colorado Republican said he would block all DOJ nominations after Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo that heightened the prospect of a federal marijuana crackdown in states that had legalized the substance. Gardner’s home state made recreational marijuana legal in 2014.

In a phone call late Wednesday, Trump told Gardner that despite the DOJ memo, the marijuana industry in Colorado will not be targeted, the senator said in a statement Friday. Satisfied, the first-term senator is now backing down from his nominee blockade.

“Since the campaign, President Trump has consistently supported states’ rights to decide for themselves how best to approach marijuana,” Gardner said Friday. “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.”

He added: “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. Because of these commitments, I have informed the Administration that I will be lifting my remaining holds on Department of Justice nominees.”...

Trump “does respect Colorado’s right to decide for themselves how to best approach this issue,” White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said in an interview Friday....

A bill has not been finalized, but Gardner has been talking quietly with other senators about a legislative fix that would, in effect, make clear the federal government cannot interfere with states that have voted to legalize marijuana. “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 addition to Gardner’s holds, DOJ has faced notable bipartisan pushback from Capitol Hill when it comes to marijuana. Sens. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) wrote to Sessions this week, urging him to back off efforts to curtail medical marijuana research at the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Washington Post reported in August that Sessions’s DOJ was effectively hamstringing the agency’s research efforts by making it harder to grow marijuana.

Separately, former House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) announced this week he is joining the board of directors for a cannabis company and engaged in efforts to allow veterans to access marijuana for medicinal use. He has opposed decriminalizing the substance as an elected official.

A few recent related posts from Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform:

April 13, 2018 at 03:28 PM | Permalink


What kind of idiot places any value on an agreement by Trump, esp a verbal one?

Posted by: Paul | Apr 13, 2018 5:54:00 PM

Since when in Gardner a "top Senate Republican"? He's a first-term Junior Senator. Let's not get carried away here.

Posted by: WRW | Apr 13, 2018 6:46:09 PM

Paul, you nailed it.

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Apr 14, 2018 3:53:15 PM

It's been remarkable to watch Sessions, who as a Senator was a big proponent of federalism and deference to states on criminal justice issues, choose to use the power of the national government to undermine state priorities.

Posted by: John | Apr 15, 2018 9:58:45 AM

The funding measure to protect states with marijuana somehow legal was one of the best pieces of legislation in the last few years. I figured it should be re-authorized & hard to see Trump deciding to use this as a measure to veto. Personally, he might disfavor intoxicants of all kinds, but he is likely to follow his party.

The rub then is how it would be enforced. A sane policy, e.g., would allow California medicinal marijuana business use normal banking and so forth. My understanding is that this isn't possible. To clarify, how broad is this legislation?

Posted by: Joe | Apr 15, 2018 12:38:08 PM

I believe this is a good sign, particularly as Trump has stated previously his reluctance to legalize marijuana and his detestation for drugs in general, but ironically not so much pharmaceuticals, which damage and kill far more people per year than marijuana ever has throughout its entire existence. Personally, I believe all natural or herbal so called "drugs" should be legalized, as this would not only eliminate the "drug war", overpopulated prisons, private prison industries, bloated bureaucracies, and cases of overdose or excessive use, it would also reduce unnecessary costs, both financially and socially. I also strongly believe that it should be the pharmaceutical industry that should be well regulated and its products banned and criminalized, particularly if their products cause more harm than good.

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Posted by: AG | Apr 19, 2018 2:53:27 AM

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