President Trump Vows to Back Law to Protect Marijuana Industry

Contrary to Attorney General Jeff Sessions' stance against state legalization, President Trump seems to have registered his support for the time being.

Posted: Apr 13, 2018 4:11 PM

DENVER (AP) — President Donald Trump has promised to support legislation protecting the marijuana industry in states that have legalized the drug, a move that could lift a threat to the industry made by the U.S. attorney general just three months ago.

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado said Friday that Trump made the pledge to him in a Wednesday night conversation.

It marked the latest flip by the president who pledged while he was campaigning to respect states that legalized marijuana but also criticized legalization and implied it should be stopped.

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.

Marijuana has been fully legalized in eight states, and 24 states allow some form of marijuana use.

"President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states' rights issue once and for all," Gardner said in a statement.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Gardner's account was accurate and the president supported states' rights in the matter.

Gardner hopes to introduce bipartisan legislation keeping the federal government from interfering in state marijuana markets.

Marijuana legalization advocates were ebullient.

"We may now be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel," said Mason Tvert, who spearheaded the 2012 ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado. "This is one more step toward ending the irrational policy of marijuana prohibition, not only in Colorado but throughout the country."

Other proponents of legalization were wary given the president's record of reversing positions and pledges of legislative support.

"This cannot be another episode of @realDonaldTrump telling somebody whatever they want to hear, only to change directions later on," U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon wrote on Twitter.

During his campaign, Trump said states should be able to chart their own course on marijuana.

"I'm a states person, it should be up to the states, absolutely," he told one television interviewer in Colorado in 2016.

However, at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2015, Trump said he supported medical marijuana but called recreational "bad."

He singled out Colorado, the first state in the nation to allow recreational marijuana sales. "They've got a lot of problems going on right now in Colorado - some big problems," Trump told the crowd.

When he selected Sessions, a former federal prosecutor and U.S. senator from Alabama, as his attorney general, marijuana supporters girded themselves for a crackdown. But Gardner said Sessions had promised him he'd do nothing to interfere with Colorado's robust marijuana market.

Gardner said he was blindsided when Sessions made his announcement in January regarding pot prosecutions.

In retaliation, Gardner used his power as a senator to prevent consideration of any nominees for the Department of Justice — an extraordinary step for a senator to use against an administration run by another member of his party.

Some of Gardner's fellow GOP senators groused at the impact of the hold, and Gardner allowed some nominees to proceed in a "good-faith" gesture last month. On Friday, he said he was fully releasing his holds on Department of Justice nominations.

The action came amid widespread speculation that Trump will remove Justice officials overseeing the Russia investigation. Replacements of any of those officials would require new nominations.

Gardner and the Department of Justice have been in discussions for months to get the holds lifted. Gardner has met with Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the official overseeing the Russia probe who has been the target of Trump's ire.

Legislation to protect states where marijuana is legal is still being drafted.

It may be modeled on a 2014 budget amendment that prevented the Department of Justice from spending money to enforce federal laws against marijuana in states that legalized the drug and were following all applicable state laws.

Gardner's office is hopeful of getting enough bipartisan support for the bill to pass the GOP-controlled Congress — something the president's backing would aid.

— AP writer Jill Colvin in Washington contributed to this report

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 397421

Reported Deaths: 5299
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah61160856
Washington42725408
Marion40378520
Clackamas33323391
Lane30531364
Jackson25267363
Deschutes24034198
Umatilla15178184
Linn15004184
Douglas13635295
Josephine10388249
Yamhill9916145
Klamath9144153
Polk8384103
Benton624440
Malheur594093
Coos5854109
Columbia442156
Jefferson427268
Lincoln369155
Crook345558
Union341857
Wasco320747
Clatsop265835
Baker223133
Tillamook220646
Hood River218637
Morrow198925
Curry194639
Harney121933
Grant109216
Lake106418
Wallowa76513
Sherman1953
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1161
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5128725

Reported Deaths: 74953
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles153845127262
San Diego4104514351
Riverside3912955388
San Bernardino3784085998
Orange3370455783
Sacramento1699162462
Kern1590231841
Fresno1581872284
Santa Clara1536961933
Alameda1262241514
San Joaquin1084911837
Ventura1049251194
Contra Costa1046451058
Stanislaus923321436
Tulare869791102
San Francisco57458674
San Mateo56861631
Monterey52973626
Solano48014360
Santa Barbara47846555
Merced45506672
Sonoma43609414
Placer42736473
Imperial39148778
Kings35547369
San Luis Obispo31803360
Madera26511315
Shasta26353465
Butte25690320
Santa Cruz22540224
Yolo21792263
Marin18728249
El Dorado18544168
Sutter14691186
Napa13501107
Yuba1084791
Humboldt10360119
Tehama10329133
Nevada10187105
Mendocino873799
Lassen801259
San Benito793980
Tuolumne782691
Lake7073113
Amador583267
Siskiyou480757
Glenn460336
Calaveras449988
Del Norte380442
Colusa329821
Inyo259446
Plumas19679
Mono19274
Mariposa163818
Trinity102117
Modoc7956
Unassigned3820
Sierra2210
Alpine1080
Out of CA00
Medford
Mostly Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 33°
Brookings
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 40°
Crater Lake
Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 29° Lo: 16°
Feels Like: 33°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 33°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 24°
Colder tomorrow with more showers, snowy Cascade passes
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events