Last month United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era policy that provided some protections for states that have legalized marijuana. The Cole memo, as it has become known, specified that the Department of Justice (DOJ) would not go after cannabis businesses that are in compliance with state laws in which they are operating. The rescinding of the Cole memo does not automatically mean that a crackdown is imminent, but it opens the door to such an action.
The cannabis industry has had mixed reactions, ranging from indifference to all-out panic. The pushback from many members of Congress was swift and one Senator, Cory Gardner (R-CO) vowed to hold up DOJ appointments until Jeff Sessions reinstituted the Obama-era guidance. Senator Gardner stated at the time that he was personally assured by Jeff Sessions himself that the Cole memo would not be rescinded.
Jeff Sessions refused to abide by Senator Gardner’s demand, and Senator Gardner upheld his end of the promise. So far Senator Gardner has held up 11 appointments and has vowed to hold up others as well. Per The Denver Post:
It’s been a month since the pot blockade began, and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner is standing firm in his vow to jam all appointments to the Department of Justice until Attorney General Jeff Sessions softens his stance on marijuana.
So far, his siege to protect both Colorado’s cannabis industry and the state’s sovereignty has prevented as many as 11 nominees from getting a Senate floor vote — the last major step before they can start work — and there is little indication that Gardner, R-Colo., and Sessions are any closer to finding common ground.
The article went on to outline a number of other appointments that are coming down the pipeline and pointed out that Donald Trump will be making more appointments in the future. The political game of chicken has no end in sight. There have been some complaints from the political peanut gallery about Senator Gardner’s move, but there has also been a lot of support expressed. Kudos to Senator Gardner, stay strong!!