Cory Gardner to meet with Jeff Sessions after doubling down on threats over marijuana enforcement change
January 9, 2018
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner said he plans to press Attorney General Jeff Sessions on federal marijuana policy when the two Republicans meet Wednesday.
In an interview, the Republican from Colorado emphasized that he is prepared, if he doesn't get his way, to block all nominees related to the Department of Justice, including U.S. marshals and U.S. attorneys from other states.
The comments build on threats that Gardner made last week after a decision by Sessions to rescind an Obama-era policy that left alone Colorado and other states that legalized marijuana in spite of federal laws against it.
"It's my job to protect those states' rights and states' decisions," Gardner said. "I would anticipate it being (Justice) officials. I would anticipate it being U.S. marshals (and) U.S. attorneys. But the bottom line is (that) this can be solved by the Department of Justice."
Justice Department officials declined to comment on the upcoming meeting, but congressional aides said if Gardner keeps his vow to block or stall these nominees, then at least two dozen people would be affected, including several high-level positions at the Justice Department.
Senate rules give broad leeway to individual lawmakers who want to put a hold on nominees.
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Bypassing a hold takes time and effort, and, given broad support for states' rights on marijuana, an override may not even be successful in the Senate.
Gardner added that he would stand down if Sessions agreed to change course or reinstate the Cole memorandum, a 2013 decree that recommended that federal officials generally steer clear of marijuana enforcement in states where it's legal.