Colorado Leaders Fire Counter Shots Against Attorney General Over Legal Weed
~ by Bud Price ~
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently enraged many government officials and leaders throughout Colorado when he announced the end to an Obama-era policy regarding a softening of prosecution against marijuana in states that legalized cannabis use.
The policy was enacted by a previous attorney general, when President Obama was in the White House. In essence, this policy stated that the federal government would not interfere with states that legalized marijuana either for medical or recreational use. This statement actually is what fueled the initial marijuana boom in Colorado, a trend that accelerated even further with the adoption of Amendment 64 (the law permitting the recreational use of pot by adults on a limited basis).
When Trump was elected president, both Sessions and Trump said that they would not bother states that changed their laws to legalize marijuana, which is a drug that the federal government still classifies as a schedule 1 controlled substance.
Sessions’ recent anti-marijuana announcement has sparked much outrage from Colorado government officials, and from both political sides of the aisle.
Among the many local politicians that spoke out against Sessions’ decision, Senator Cory Gardner appeared to be the most upset. “It’s my job to protect those states’ right and states’ decisions,” Senator Gardner said. The senator has vowed to personally block all of the Department of Justice nominees if Sessions goes through with his plans to interfere with states that have legalized marijuana.
Last Wednesday, Senator Gardner, a Republican, had a meeting with Sessions. Gardner called for the meeting in order to express his concerns to the attorney general about the repeal of the Obama-era’s Cole memo. After the meeting Gardner said he did express his concerns to Sessions. But unfortunately, according to news reports, the senator indicated he did not believe that he had made any progress towards convincing Sessions to change his decision about the Cole memo. Gardner assured Colorado residents that he would pursue his efforts to protect individual states’ rights.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, agreed with Gardner in expressing disdain for Sessions’ decision. He believes that the federal government should not go against legalization of marijuana since it was voted into the state constitution by a public vote. “I’m not sure I see what benefit there is to the Trump administration or the Department of Justice by flaunting the will – the votes – of more than two-thirds of Americans,” Hickenlooper told CNN.
In fact, this one of the few issues that Gardner and Hickenlooper, who represent opposing parties, actually have taken a united stand on.
However, not all Colorado government officials agree with Hickenlooper and Gardner.
Congressman Doug Lamborn, who represents Teller County and the entire Pikes Peak region, made a public statement last week that strongly supported Sessions’ decision.
“The social costs of legalizing marijuana in Colorado have been steep, and the negative effects on children are particularly concerning,” Lamborn said in the statement. “If we’re honest with ourselves, legalizing marijuana has been bad for the state of Colorado. I applaud Attorney General Sessions for upholding the law and recognizing the serious and proven harms associated with marijuana,” added the congressman.