Hot Sheet

Strange bedfellows Coffman, DeGette fight feds’ marijuana meddling

Author: Dan Njegomir - May 19, 2017 - Updated: June 6, 2017


It’s a marriage made over marijuana; specifically, Colorado voters’ decision to legalize it in 2012, and the federal government’s seeming inability to accept it.

Colorado U.S. Reps. Mike Coffman, the Aurora Republican, and Diana DeGette, the Denver Democrat, are again joining forces to push back at Donald Trump over pot just as they did against Barack Obama, reports Denverite’s Adrian Garcia.

Their “Respect States and Citizens’ Rights Act of 2017,” which they introduced in Congress this week, would make clear that Colorado and other states have the right to blaze their own trails on matters like marijuana policy. They filed the legislation in response to statements by Trump administration Attorney General Jeff Sessions that suggest he might start a crackdown.

The two lawmakers have filed the same legislation before, in 2012, 2013 and 2015.

Here’s Coffman — who opposed legalization but says he respects the will of his state’s voters — as quoted by Denverite:

“Since this is clearly not a matter of interstate commerce, I believe that the people of Colorado had every right, under the U.S. Constitution, to decide this issue for themselves, and as their representative in Congress, I have an obligation to respect the will of the people of Colorado and that’s why I’m reintroducing this bill with Congresswoman DeGette.”

And DeGette:

“My colleagues and I — along with our constituents — spoke out frequently during the Obama administration to make clear we didn’t want the federal government denying money to our states or taking other punitive steps that would undermine the will of our citizens … Lately, we’ve had even more reason for these concerns, given Trump administration statements.”

No guess as to the bill’s prospects this time around.

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.