Donald Trump promises to protect states with legalized marijuana

Inslee, Ferguson cautiously optimistic after Trump's 'promise' to protect states' marijuana rights

On the night of April 11, 2018, Trump and Gardner had a telephone conversation in which the president contradicted the Sessions memo, telling the senator from Colorado - where marijuana has been legalized for adult-use since 2014 - would not be subjected to a federal crackdown on cannabis. "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", said Gardner in a statement on Friday.

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.

Matt Fox, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates state control of marijuana laws, said this was a positive step in the short and long term - as a signal to Sessions to get more in line with Trump's previously-stated views on marijuana policy and as motivation for lawmakers to seriously tackle marijuana policy reform.

But the Journal's sources say Trump wants the top Justice Department officials gone anyway: "Eventually, it will happen", a source said. 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. Gardner in response used his power in the Senate to stop consideration of new nominees to the Department of Justice.

"We applaud this commitment from President Trump, who promised during his campaign to take a federalist approach with regard to marijuana policy", Altieri said in a statement.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump broke with his party and supported giving states the right to set their own policies on marijuana. "I am a states person, it must be up to the nations, perfectly", he told a television interviewer in Colorado this year. Attorney General Jeff Sessions instead directed USA attorneys to use prosecutorial discretion. On Friday, Gardner said he was releasing his hold entirely.

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The action came amid widespread speculation that Trump will remove Justice officials overseeing the Russian Federation investigation. However, no bills or amendments to federal budgets have been finalized that fully protect states from federal enforcement.

While dozens of states have legalized marijuana in one form or another, the substance remains federally prohibited.

Gardner said he had earlier allowed some Justice Department nominations to proceed after having "positive discussions" with the department, and will now allow the remaining blocked nominations to move forward.

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.

The action came amid widespread speculation that Trump will remove Justice officials overseeing the Russian Federation investigation.

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