Cory Gardner, Jeff Sessions to meet this week over marijuana memo
Author: Kelly Cohen, The Washington Examiner - January 9, 2018 - Updated: January 9, 2018
Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are set to meet this week after the lawmaker said last week he would block all of President Trump’s judicial nominees until the administration reverses its decision to rescind an Obama-era policy that deprioritized the enforcement of federal marijuana laws.
Gardner’s office and a Justice Department spokesperson both told the Washington Examiner a meeting would take place this week, but offered no further details.
Recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado in January 2014. Gardner said angrily on the Senate floor Thursday that Sessions and President Trump had both promised him they would not interfere with the Obama-era policy, the so-called Cole Memo, that allowed such legalization to occur unchecked by the federal government.
Sessions on Thursday rescinded the memo, which deprioritized federal marijuana laws and was seen as a move that allowed some states to legalize the drug.
As long as state officials in states where marijuana was legalized prevented it from moving to states where it was still illegal, the federal government under the Obama administration said it would not stand in the way of states that legalized the drug.
Gardner said on Monday there’s no clear move on what should happen next.
“At this point there is no clear path on what to do other than to restore state’s rights that I feel have taken a step back,” he said.
When asked about litigation against states passing their own laws that are contrary to federal law, a senior Justice Department official said last week “further steps are still under consideration.”
Six states have legalized recreational and medical marijuana and allow the sale recreationally. Two states plus the District of Columbia have legalized both recreational and medicinal marijuana, but do not allow the outright sale of the drug. Another 21 states allow medicinal marijuana use only.
Reporter Kimberly Leonard contributed to this report.