Article by Jonathan Allen, Reuters
Both advocates and opponents of legalized marijuana reacted with caution on Saturday to signs from the White House that growers in U.S. states where the drug is permitted would be shielded from federal prosecution, saying it was too early to know the final impact.
U.S. Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado announced on Friday that he had convinced U.S. President Donald Trump, a fellow Republican, to protect from federal interference those state laws that legalize marijuana for certain uses.
Last year, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who opposes marijuana use, rescinded a memo issued by Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, that dialed back enforcement of the federal ban in states that legalized the drug. That decision unnerved the fast-growing U.S. marijuana industry, which has been legalized in more than half of all states.
“Trump’s pledge to Gardner is a significant and potentially game-changing development but it does not necessarily mean that Sessions it no longer a threat to licensed cannabis businesses,” Mike Liszewski, a policy advisor at the pro-marijuana Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement. He said, however, that the agreement made it “even more politically difficult for Sessions to initiate a crackdown.”