In a deal with Colorado Sen. Cory Gardener (R), President Donald Trump has agreed to support federalism-based legislation to protect states who have chosen to reform their cannabis laws, Sen. Gardener announced on Friday. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the agreement between the senator and the president during the daily press briefing.
The deal comes following hints of a potential cannabis crackdown from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who in January rescinded Obama-era protections for state-legal cannabis companies and instructed prosecutors to use their own discretion in determining whether or not to pursue traffickers of federally prohibited substances.
Following Sessions’ recission, Sen. Gardener said that, in an effort to protect Colorado‘s voter-approved cannabis industry, he would block all Department of Justice nominees until the issue was resolved or the Cole Memo was reinstated.
During the 2016 presidential election, then-candidate Trump said that he would support states’ rights to reform their cannabis laws.
“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. 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.” — Sen. Cory Gardener, in a statement
In response to Sen. Gardener’s announcement, Mason Tvert — a co-director of Colorado’s successful Amendment 64 legalization campaign — praised the deal in a statement released on Friday.
“We are grateful to Sen. Gardner for standing up for the people of Colorado, as well as to President Trump for respecting states’ rights to adopt their own cannabis policies. …This is one more step toward ending the irrational policy of marijuana prohibition, not only in Colorado, but throughout the country.” — Mason Tvert, VP of Communications at VS Strategies