Trump, senator strike deal on legalized marijuana

Frederick Owens
April 15, 2018

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Friday he is "cautiously optimistic" after President Donald Trump reportedly promised to protect the legal marijuana industry in states, but noted that the president "has demonstrated a willingness to go back on his word". I might believe it if he ordered Sessions to reinstate the DOJ guidance on the matter that is consistent with this promise and orders the DEA and federal prosecutors not to investigate or prosecute anyone for a marijuana-related action that is legal in the state in which it took place.

Cory Gardner said Trump promised him over the phone Wednesday that a memo Sessions issued previous year won't affect his home state. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill.

A bill has not been finalized, but Gardner has been talking quietly with other senators about a legislative fix that would, in effect, make clear that the federal government can not interfere with states that have voted to legalize marijuana.

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Gardner said he was blindsided when Sessions made his announcement in January regarding pot prosecutions. But now he's dropped his stand after the President said he would support a bill that would protect states rights, even though that bill doesn't even exist yet?

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said during Friday's press briefing that the president spoke with Gardner today and yesterday. "Late Wednesday, I acquired a dedication from the President that the Division of Justice's rescission of the Cole memo shouldn't be going to impression Colorado's licensed marijuana enterprise. 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", Gardner said.

"If Jeff Sessions wanted to shut the industry down, he could have shut the industry down", said Leslie Bocskor, the founder of Electrum Partners, a cannabis investment and advisory firm.

During the 2016 campaign, Colorado reporter Brandon Rittman asked Trump whether he would enforce the federal ban on cannabis in states that had legalized, to which Trump responded, "I wouldn't do that, no..." "I am a states person, it must be up to the nations, perfectly", he told a television interviewer in Colorado this year. On Friday, he said he was fully releasing his holds on Department of Justice nominations. Many traditional investors have shied away from pouring their capital into the industry over fears they'd be treated like drug traffickers, and a strong sign of support from Trump over Congressional action might provide the reassurance they're seeking.

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. Gardner has met with Courses and Deputy Authorized skilled Regular Rod Rosenstein, the official overseeing the Russian Federation probe who has been the aim of Trump's ire.

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