Cory Gardner Meets With Jeff Session On Marijuana, Neither Is Giving Ground
Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions dropped a bomb on legal marijuana in The United States. His announcement that he is rescinding the Obama-era policy that let legal weed flourish in legal states shook the cannabis industry. Sessions’ actions all but encourage federal intervention in matters relating to marijuana in states where it is legal and removes the blocks that stopped federal enforcement agencies from prosecuting marijuana businesses under Obama. Sessions’ announcement was met with substantial backlash, the most vocal of which came from Republican Senator Cory Gardner (Colorado).
Gardner won’t back down
Gardner vowed to fight Sessions on his policy has since had a meeting with the Attorney General to discuss the move. Gardner said on Wednesday that the meeting did little settle their disagreement over marijuana policy. This means that it is likely that Congress will have to get involved and address the issue. Gardner told Denver7 that Sessions gave no indication that he would reverse the decision made last week.
“I think the meeting kind of went as I expected it to,” Gardner, R-Colo., told Denver7. “I shared my states’ rights position with Attorney General Sessions, and he shared his concern about the Cole Memorandum and why he rescinded it.”
Because Sessions isn’t backing down, Gardner said, he plans to pursue a legislative fix, either through a stand-alone measure or an amendment to a bigger bill.
“We’ll be looking at appropriations legislation,” Gardner said. “We’ll also be looking at broader legislation to address this issue. As you know, I opposed the legalization, but the fact is, this is a states’ rights decision, and that’s the message I delivered very clearly today to the attorney general.”
There may be a loophole
One idea that has gained traction among Colorado lawmakers is an amendment to a coming budget bill that would prohibit the Justice Department from spending money on marijuana enforcement in states such as Colorado that have legalized pot. This would essentially protect marijuana businesses within the state from federal intervention.
Cory Gardner has vowed to block Justice Department nominees until there’s a resolution on the marijuana issue, but it’s not known whether he would continue that blockade if Congress comes up with a fix without the help of Sessions.
It also remains unclear how other legal states will fight Sessions’ move. California legalized recreational weed on January 1 and is set to become the biggest cannabis market in the country. It is likely that similar loopholes will need to be found by other legal states in order to prevent federal intervention in states where marijuana is legal.