Trump, Gardner Strike Marijuana Deal After Sessions Memo Fallout

Laverne Higgins
April 14, 2018

America's fast-growing marijuana industry could be poised for supercharged expansion after President Trump promised to respect state-legalized pot in a deal with a Colorado senator who had been blocking presidential nominees.

Mr. Trump offered qualified support for legalization while on the presidential campaign trail, saying that medical marijuana "should happen" and that laws regarding recreational usage should be left in the hands of the states. As reported by the Washington Post, Trump and Gardner have apparently made an agreement under which Gardner will let the nominations proceed and the administration will refrain from prosecuting marijuana sellers and users whose activities are legal under state law, and support legislation barring such enforcement permanently.

Marijuana is legal for medicinal use in 29 states and for recreational use in eight.

Since the campaign, President Trump has consistently supported states' rights to decide for themselves how best to approach marijuana.

But in a phone call late Wednesday, Trump told Gardner that despite the DOJ memo, the marijuana industry in Colorado won't be targeted, the senator said in a statement Friday.

Cory Gardner said Trump promised him over the phone Wednesday that a memo Sessions issued past year won't affect his home state.

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That memo was replaced with a new order from Sessions which allows local U.S. attorneys to decide whether to prosecute these businesses under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which bans marijuana in all 50 states regardless of local law.

California's fledgling recreational marijuana industry may soon be able to fully exhale after President Donald Trump indicated this week that he is willing to support federal legislation protecting legal cannabis businesses. Will Trump's assurances prove to be similar to Jeff Sessions' assurances?

On Friday, White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said, Trump "does respect Colorado's right to decide for themselves how to best approach this issue".

"Because of these commitments, I have informed the Administration that I will be lifting my remaining holds on Department of Justice nominees", Gardner continued in the statement. "So we're reluctant to reward that sort of behavior".

"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.

There are now at least three bills under consideration which propose removing marijuana from the CSA's federal banned list or would allow states to legalize without fear of federal prosecution: the Marijuana Justice Act, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act and the Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act. At a separate press conference, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that the President and Sen.

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