Trump, Gardner Strike Deal on Legalized Marijuana, Ending Standoff Over Justice Nominees

Article by Seung Min Kim, The Washington Post

Trump, Gardner strike deal on legalized marijuana, ending standoff over Justice nominees. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), seen here in a file photo, had been holding up Justice Department nominees due to a standoff over legalized marijuana with Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post) By Seung Min Kim

President Trump has promised a top Senate Republican that he will support congressional efforts to protect states that have legalized marijuana — defusing a months-long standoff between Sen. Cory Gardner and the administration over Justice Department nominees.

In January, the Colorado Republican said he would block all DOJ nominations after Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo that heightened the prospect of a federal marijuana crackdown in states that had legalized the substance. Gardner’s home state made recreational marijuana legal in 2014.

In a phone call late Wednesday, Trump told Gardner that despite the DOJ memo, the marijuana industry in Colorado will not be targeted, the senator said in a statement Friday. Satisfied, the first-term senator is now backing down from his nominee blockade.

“Since the campaign, President Trump has consistently supported states’ rights to decide for themselves how best to approach marijuana,” Gardner said Friday. “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.”

He added: “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. Because of these commitments, I have informed the Administration that I will be lifting my remaining holds on Department of Justice nominees.”

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