Gardner says Trump vows to protect marijuana industry


(AP) - President Donald Trump has promised to support legislation protecting the marijuana industry in states that have legalized the drug, a move that could lift a threat to the industry made by the US attorney general just three months ago.

Gardner has been pushing to reverse a decision made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in January that removed prohibitions that kept federal prosecutors from pursuing cases against people who were following pot laws in states such as Colorado that have legalized the drug.

He singled out Colorado, the first state to allow recreational marijuana sales.

Trump's promise to the Senator diffuses the standoff that's been taking place between Gardner and nominees for the Justice Department.

"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.

Now, it appears, Grader's gamble has paid off as he announced that, "President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states' rights issue once and for all". Especially infuriating, from Gardner's perspective, was that Sessions had pledged during his confirmation process for attorney general that he would leave states that had legalized marijuana alone, according to the senator.

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.

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Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., listens as President Donald Trump speaks before hosting a lunch with Senate Republicans in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington on December 5, 2017. "I am a states person, it must be up to the nations, perfectly", he told a television interviewer in Colorado this year.

After Trump selected Sessions, a former federal prosecutor and also US senator from Alabama, as his attorney general, bud fans girded for a crackdown.

The New York Daily News reported Friday that the Justice Department had not been consulted before Trump made his phone call. Replacements of any of those officials would require new nominations.

Legislation to protect states where marijuana is legal is still being drafted. Trump's backing is seen as key to getting a bill by Congress.

Gardner lifted holds on Assistant Attorney General for National Security, United States Attorneys, and United States Marshals nominees in February as an "act of good faith" after talks with DOJ leadership.

President Trump was reportedly so enraged by an Federal Bureau of Investigation raid of his personal attorney's office and hotel that he is now on the brink of firing Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general he appointed, as well as Attorney General Jeff Sessions.