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15 April 2018, 12:46 | Tara Lloyd
Sen. Cory Gardner was encouraged by Trump's announcement
On the night of April 11, 2018, Trump and Gardner had a telephone conversation in which the president contradicted the Sessions memo, telling the senator from Colorado - where marijuana has been legalized for adult-use since 2014 - would not be subjected to a federal crackdown on cannabis.
Mr. Gardner held up the nominees after Attorney-General Jeff Sessions rescinded an earlier Justice Department memo that shielded marijuana operations in states such as Colorado from enforcement of the federal ban on the drug.
One of Gardner's primary points of contention with Sessions' decision to bring the hammer down on states with legal cannabis markets was his assurance during his confirmation hearings that he "would leave states that had legalized marijuana alone".
President donaldtrump has reportedly lent his support to a US senator from Colorado, asserting to endorse legislation which "safeguards states' rights" on legalized bud.
Gardner noted that Trump had stated during his campaign that he had supported states' rights to decide how to approach marijuana.
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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". He said he's been working on bipartisan legislation with other senators that would protect marijuana-friendly states from federal government interference.
Marijuana legalization advocates were ebullient.
Under Mr. Sessions's approach, US attorneys in states where pot is legal were given approval to prosecute cases where they see fit.
Democratic U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer of OR, another state with permissive marijuana laws, expressed skepticism, saying, "Trump changes his mind constantly".
He singled out Colorado, the first state to allow leisure marijuana product sales.
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Though pure speculation, Trump may be looking for a public-relations boost while embroiled in the ongoing investigation by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign to Trump's benefit. But Trump has also railed at the dangers of drug-related crime and suggested recreational marijuana should not be permitted. But Gardner said Sessions had promised him he'd do nothing to interfere with Colorado's robust marijuana market.
Bob Ferguson, the Democratic attorney general of Washington state, which permits marijuana use, said Gardner's announcement made him "cautiously optimistic" but until there is a formal agreement or law on the issue he stands ready to defend "Washington's well-regulated marijuana industry".
Trump's promise to the Senator diffuses the standoff that's been taking place between Gardner and nominees for the Justice Department. Replacements of any of those officials would require new nominations. Trump's backing is seen as key to getting a bill through Congress.
Recently, Gardner and Justice officials have been in discussions for months to get the holds lifted. Gardner has met with Courses and Deputy Authorized skilled Regular Rod Rosenstein, the official overseeing the Russian Federation probe who has been the aim of Trump's ire.
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