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Law Trump Agrees to Honor State's Rights for MJ

Baron23

Well-Known Member
We will see what this actually turns out, in the end, to be....but this is pretty hot news and I once again applaud Gardner of CO.


Trump strikes deal with Colorado Senator on legalized marijuana
  • President Trump promised Senator Gardner of Colorado he would support efforts to protect states that have legalized marijuana.
  • In exchange, Gardner will stop blocking DOJ nominations.
  • Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions revoked the Cole Memo in January, Garner has held up about 20 Justice nominations.
President Donald Trump promised Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado he would support efforts to protect states that have legalized marijuana, ending a standoff on Department of Justice nominations.

"Since the campaign, President Trump has consistently supported states' rights to decide for themselves how best to approach marijuana," Gardner said in a statement. "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."

"Because of these commitments, I have informed the Administration that I will be lifting my remaining holds on Department of Justice nominees," Gardner added.

The Washington Post first reported the development, and the White House confirmed on Friday Gardner's statement was accurate.

In January, Attorney General Jeff Sessions revoked the Cole Memo, Obama-era guidance designed to discourage prosecutors from targeting states that have legalized marijuana. The move provoked an outcry from marijuana friendly states, including Gardner's Colorado, in which the marijuana industry has flourished since 2000.

Angry that Sessions had reneged on his pledge to leave marijuana states alone, Gardner promised to block all DOJ nominations, pending a resolution.

Since then, he has held up about 20 Justice nominations, the Washington Post reported.

"Clearly, we've expressed our frustration with the delay with a lot of our nominees and feel that too often, senators hijack a nominee for a policy solution," White House legislative affairs director Marc Short told the Washington Post on Friday. "So we're reluctant to reward that sort of behavior. But at the same time, we're anxious to get our team at the Department of Justice."

Trump "does respect Colorado's right to decide for themselves how to best approach this issue," Short added.

Gardner and other senators have been discussing legislation that would prevent federal government intervention in states that have legalized marijuana. Nothing has been finalized, according to Gardner's statement.

"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 a statement.

This move comes days after former Republican House Speaker John Boehner announced he would join the board of a medical marijuana holding company. Advocates have called this announcement a watershed moment for the marijuana industry.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
Screw Sessions. The DoJ is a an organization of the executive branch of the Government and is subject to policy decisions by the head of that branch...the President of the United States of America. Which is not Jeff Sessions.


President Trump pledges to support states’ rights to legal marijuana, in a blow to Attorney General Sessions

President Trump is going green — and Attorney General Sessions is likely seeing red.

Trump announced Wednesday that he will back congressional efforts to protect states' rights to legal marijuana, according to a Republican senator.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner said Trump promised over the phone that a memo Sessions issued last year won't affect his home state. The memo sought to reverse Obama-era policies on recreational pot and hinted at a federal crackdown.


Sen. Cory Gardner was encouraged by Trump's announcement.
(Alex Brandon/AP)
"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 a statement Friday. "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."

Trump proposed replacing Sessions with Pruitt this week

Gardner, whose state legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, threatened to block all Justice Department nominees after Sessions' January memo. In light of Trump's phone call, the senator said he has had a change of heart.



Donald Trump in the White House

"Because of these commitments, I have informed the administration that I will be lifting my remaining holds on Department of Justice nominees," Gardner said.

Sessions did not immediately react to the development, but a source familiar with the matter told the Daily News that the Justice Department had not been consulted before Trump's phone call.


Sessions has been a staunch opponent of marijuana legalization throughout his political career.
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Gardner's statement.

Sessions won't hire special counsel to probe anti-Trump FBI bias

"We're always consulting Congress about issues, including states rights, of which the president is a firm believer and the statement that the senator put out earlier today is accurate," Sanders told reporters at the White House Friday.

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

The 71-year-old Alabama native was blocked from a federal judgeship because an African-American colleague testified that Sessions had once joked that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was "OK" until he "found out they smoked pot."
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
WaPo article on the same subject


Trump, Gardner strike deal on legalized marijuana, ending standoff over Justice nominees


President Trump has promised a top Senate Republican that he will support congressional efforts to protect states that have legalized marijuana — defusing a months-long standoff between Sen. Cory Gardner and the administration over Justice Department nominees.

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.”

Gardner, who heads the campaign operation charged with hanging on to the Republicans’ Senate majority, was irate in January when Sessions revoked guidance from the Obama administration, known as the Cole memo, that had discouraged prosecutors from enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that had legalized the drug.

Especially infuriating, from Gardner’s perspective, was that Sessions had pledged during his confirmation process for attorney general he would leave states that had legalized marijuana alone, according to the senator.

[‘That’s the model’: Republican Cory Gardner stands up to President Trump]

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

Trump has held a sharply different view from Sessions on the issue. During the presidential campaign, Trump said in an interview with KUSA-TV in Colorado that he said “it’s up to the states” on the marijuana issue.

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.

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.

“Clearly, we’ve expressed our frustration with the delay with a lot of our nominees and feel that too often, senators hijack a nominee for a policy solution,” Short said. “So we’re reluctant to reward that sort of behavior. But at the same time, we’re anxious to get our team at the Department of Justice.”

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.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
The take on the Trump/Gardner deal from other stakeholders


Trump says he’ll support protections for legal marijuana. Here’s what politicians and cannabis insiders are saying.



Politicians and cannabis industry insiders, alike, were surprised Friday morning by Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner’s announcement that he has struck a deal with President Donald J. Trump that would protect states’ marijuana laws from federal interference.

In a statement that summarized much of the reaction, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), the co-founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, in a statement called the announcement “another head spinning moment.”

“We should hope for the best, but not take anything for granted. Trump changes his mind constantly, and Republican leadership is still in our way,” he said. “Momentum is clearly building in the states and here in DC. The tide is changing. Now is the time to redouble our efforts.”

He followed up with at tweet that asked, “can you feel the earth shifting for lasting marijuana reform??”

Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, a co-founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus expressed cautions optimism.

“I am cautiously optimistic that this announcement is a meaningful step forward for the states’ rights and sensible marijuana policy,” Polis said in a statement to The Cannabist. “This is the type of solution I have advocated for during my time in Congress, most notably with the McClintock-Polis amendment, which I have repeatedly offered to prevent the federal government from interfering with states that have legalized marijuana.”

On the ground in Colorado, a state that blazed the trail in marijuana legalization, Gov. John Hickenlooper called the Gardner-Trump conversation a “reasonable and promising development.”

“The Department of Justice will get far greater benefit per dollars spent by continuing to focus on major crimes such as heroin, meth and human trafficking,” he said in a statement emailed to The Cannabist.

Mason Tvert, co-director of Colorado’s Amendment 64 campaign and vice president of communications at VS Strategies, a Denver-based public affairs firm that specializes in the cannabis industry, expressed gratitude to Sen. Gardner for standing up for the state’s residents.

“Colorado has taken great strides toward replacing the illegal marijuana market with a responsibly regulated system. It has been a long and difficult process, but we may now be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. This is one more step toward ending the irrational policy of marijuana prohibition, not only in Colorado, but throughout the country,” he said in a statement.

Adam Eidinger, the Washington, D.C. (and soon to be Maryland) legalization advocate behind the city’s Initiative 71, which legalized possession of up to two ounces of marijuana for residents and visitors, said the announcement ushered the movement into “a whole new world.”

“I think the president is desperate to recover in popularity and fulfilling campaign promise that cuts across party affiliation,” he told The Cannabist.

The moment, he hopes, will fire up the debate about what marijuana legalization should look like.

“This is good news for business,” he said pointing out the surge in cannabis stock prices Friday, “but will it be good news for consumers, patients, and individuals who just want the right to use their own cannabis?”

Joe Hodas, COO, General Cannabis Corp, a Denver-based holding company for multiple marijuana subsidiaries, said his reaction to the day’s developments wasn’t dissimilar to how he reacted to news in January that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was rescinding the Cole Memo.

“We listen, watch, and continue to do what’s right and compliant,” he told The Cannabist.

Andy Williams, Founder and President of Medicine Man Technologies, a publicly traded cannabis advisory and consulting firm, called out the work of conserviative-leaning politicians and advocacy groups.

“Yet again, we see Senator Cory Gardner stepping up for Colorado and making a big impact on cannabis industry,” he said in a statement. “Kudos to the New Federalism Fund on the work they did to educate Republicans like Gardner on marijuana issues. The next step from here should be making law out of Cole memo, so it’s legislation instead of a referendum. I believe this also has potential to fix banking and 280e.”

The appreciation for conservative efforts to move Trump was echoed by Don Murphy, director of conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project, who said that Gardner has done a great service for his constituents by standing up for federalism.

“Everyone who knew about President Trump’s statements on this issue during the campaign were hoping he would uphold those values and support states’ abilities to enact laws regulating marijuana for medical or adult use while in office,” he said. “This news should make states more comfortable implementing their legalization programs. It should also serve as a rallying cry for lawmakers to pass comprehensive legislation that leaves marijuana policy to the states permanently.”

Kevin Sabet, the leader of SAM, a nonprofit group opposed to marijuana legalization, called the reported deal between the president and Gardner “ill-conceived and wrong.”

“SAM stands with virtually all major medical and law enforcement associations in condemning the use and legalization of marijuana. The black market does not honor states’ rights – it is thriving in Colorado and other legalized states,” Sabet said in an email to The Cannabist. “This is creating harms in all states, in the form of increased stoned driving fatalities, the increased prevalence of pot candies, and more crime. Senator Gardner is simply protecting special interests at the expense of public health. SAM will redouble its efforts and amplify the voices of millions of Americans who do not want their children exposed to increased drug use. We hope the president — who doesn’t want to be known as the ‘Pot President’ – will reverse course soon. This reckless plan will not go unanswered.”
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
A few details on the bill that Gardner intends to get passed and supported and signed by Trump as part of the deal to life judicial nomination blocks.

Now we need somebody in the GOP to bang Pete Sessions over the head a few dozen times so maybe such legislation will have hearings and an up/down vote.


Sen. Cory Gardner shares details of marijuana deal forged with Trump

“I’m confident, after this discussion, that we have the protections that we were looking for,” Gardner said.

Now that he has President Donald J. Trump’s support for comprehensive legislation protecting state-legal marijuana, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner says he likes his odds of getting a bill through Congress.

Colorado’s Republican senator told The Cannabist in a phone interview that he received assurances from Trump that his state’s marijuana legalization regime would be safe from federal interference. And the president’s commitment extends to other legal marijuana states, he said.

During a phone call Wednesday night, Trump also assured Gardner, “you have my support,” for federalism-focused legislation that will allow U.S. states to decide how they want to regulate cannabis without fear of federal interference, the senator said.

As part of the deal, Gardner agreed to lift his blockade on U.S. Department of Justice nominees — a hold put in place following U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ rescission of Obama-era guidance on marijuana.

Trump says he’ll support protections for legal marijuana. Here’s what politicians and cannabis insiders are saying.
That bill is in the works, Gardner said, adding that it’ll look a lot different than the medical marijuana appropriations riders of recent years.

The “states’ rights, federalist” legislation also should be more comprehensive than the slew of bills that have addressed aspects of marijuana regulation — including banking, taxes, research, and federally authorized state systems — but have languished in congressional committees.

“I would envision this legislation taking care of all of that,” Gardner said.

Gardner and congressional colleagues such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Rand Paul, R-Ky.; and Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; are putting the finishing touches on a draft bill, he said, adding that it’s “hopefully moving soon.”

“We have the president’s support,” he said. “You have 30-some states that have addressed this issue in one way or another.”

And as such, there is a growing number of legislators whose constituents support cannabis regimes, he said.

Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, were not a party to the senator’s conversations with Trump and White House officials, Gardner said, deferring comment to the DOJ.

“I’m confident, after this discussion, that we have the protections that we were looking for” in regards to Colorado’s legal marijuana program, Gardner said.

Following Gardner’s public statement, which was first reported by The Washington Post, optimism permeated throughout the nation’s burgeoning multibillion-dollar cannabis industry.

But it was tempered.

“It’s obviously good news, if the president doesn’t change his mind,” said Rachel K. Gillette, a Greenspoon Marder attorney specializing in cannabis business licensing and regulatory compliance. “We’ve seen him change his mind on a number of different issues.”

Drug policy expert and author John Hudak said one need no look further than the events of the previous 24 hours when Trump reportedly weighed rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement he nixed early in his presidency and once called “a rape of our country.”

“That is a massive policy shift on a massive policy,” said Hudak, who serves as deputy director of the Center for Effective Public Management for the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based research organization.

“And so I think people should be weary.”

When it comes to marijuana, Trump isn’t necessarily shifting positions. On the campaign trail, Trump expressed support for states’ rights and indicate he would not interfere with states, including Colorado, which chose to implement some form of cannabis legalization.

“What this means is a president, who changes his mind on an hourly basis sometimes, has committed to one senator that he’ll support legislation that does not have a clear path forward to 60 votes in the United States Senate and does not have a clear path forward in the United States House of Representatives,” Hudak said.

The cannabis industry should view this as a positive step but not as a landmark victory.

“There are so many barriers still in the way between this statement and a presidential signature,” he said.

Sam Kamin, a marijuana law professor at the University of Denver, said Gardner has been burned by the Trump Administration before on marijuana. And if he’s burned again, then he’s the proverbial Charlie Brown fruitlessly trying to kick a football that fellow Peanuts pal Lucy pulls away at the last second, Kamin tweeted.

“My first thought is that Senator Gardner was given assurances by Attorney General Sessions that states’ rights would be respected and that he felt burned when Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo,” Kamin said via email to The Cannabist. ” I hope, for his sake as well as Colorado’s, that these assurances are more enforceable than those made by the Attorney General.”

Regardless of the outcome, Gardner’s announcement could be another indications of tides shifting in legal cannabis’ favor, he noted.

“Also, along with former Speaker (John) Boehner joining a marijuana firm the other day and with a growing list of national legislators signing off on marijuana law reform, things feel very different than they did just as recently as January of this year,” Kamin said.
 

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