President Donald Trump told Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner that the President will support efforts to protect states’ that have legalized marijuana, according to a statement from Gardner released Friday.
The deal, which was first reported by The Washington Post, comes after Gardner said he’d block all Justice Department nominees after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded guidance from the Obama administration,known as the Cole memo, that had adopted a policy of non-interference with marijuana-friendly state laws.
The Department of Justice was not consulted on this promise to Gardner from the President, according to a source familiar.
Gardner was furious at Sessions for his move — and critics, like Gardner, argued the move violates states’ rights and causes uncertainty in legal marijuana industries.
While many states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana use, the drug is still illegal under federal law, which created a conflict between federal and state law.
“Late Wednesday, I received a commitment from the President that the Department of Justice’s rescission of the Cole memo will not impact Colorado’s legal marijuana industry,” Gardner said in a statement. “Furthermore, President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all.”
He continued: “Because of these commitments, I have informed the Administration that I will be lifting my remaining holds on Department of Justice nominees.”
Gardner said he and his colleagues are working on a bill that would prevent the federal government from interfering in states’ marijuana legalization.
“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,” he said in the statement.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called the statement from Gardner “accurate” during Friday’s press briefing.
“The President did speak with the senator,” she said. “The statement that the senator put out today is accurate.”