Trump tells Gardner he'll protect states that have legalized marijuana

Trump tells Gardner he'll protect states that have legalized marijuana

President Trump has promised to support congressional efforts to protect states that have legalized marijuana, according to Sen. In response to that decision, Rep. Gardner had vowed to block all nominees for Justice Department jobs.

Colorado, of course, blazed the recreational trail back in 2012, transforming the once black-market product into a billion-dollar industry and setting the groundwork for a slate of states that would soon follow suit - including California this year. As Gardner put it in a press release, "President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states' rights issue once and for all".

"The President did speak with Senator Gardner yesterday and again today", Ms. Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Friday at the White House, adding, "the President is a firm believer" in states' rights.

It marked the latest flip by the president who pledged while he was campaigning to respect states that legalized marijuana but also criticized legalization and implied it should be stopped.

The country's rapidly growing marijuana industry has struggled with fears Trump's administration would alter the Obama administration's policy of letting legalized pot flourish in states where voters approved it.

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Following Wednesday night's phone call with the President, the Senator is now backing down from his blockade. In retaliation, Gardner used his power as a senator to prevent consideration of any nominees for the Department of Justice - an extraordinary step for a senator to use against an administration run by another member of his party. Gardner has met with Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the official overseeing the Russian Federation probe who has been the target of Trump's ire. 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. Gardner and the Department of Justice have been in discussions for months to get the holds lifted.

Gardner and others were concerned that it could lead to federal agents taking enforcement actions against dispensaries and other businesses that are legal under Colorado state law.

Senator Gardner reiterated that he and his colleagues "are continuing to work diligently on a bipartisan legislative solution (to the state/federal conflict) that can pass Congress and head to the President's desk".

In addition to Gardner's holds, DOJ has faced notable bipartisan pushback from Capitol Hill when it comes to marijuana. Jeff Sessions and other drug war hardliners in the administration might yet undermine the deal, just as anti-immigration hardliners in the White House scuttled Trump's seeming agreement to various deals on DACA. He has opposed decriminalizing the substance as an elected official.

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