Republican Senator Tears into Sessions, Trump over Marijuana Policy Change in Fiery Floor Speech
Republican Senator Cory Gardner Of Colorado Blasts Marijuana Rule Change By Sessions, Trump DOJ
In a betrayal of promises from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, the Department of Justice announced it would be reversing an Obama-era policy that allowed states to pursue and implement laws that legalized marijuana. The change also reverses promises made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions when he was a nominee for his current position.
The Associated Press was first to report the rescinding of the policy. The article explains federal prosecutors will be able to make their own decisions about where to step in on changes made by individual states.
Instead of the previous lenient-federal-enforcement policy, Sessions’ new stance will instead let federal prosecutors where marijuana is legal decide how aggressively to enforce longstanding federal law prohibiting it.
It’s clear this draconian change will not sit well with the majority of Americans that now support legalization. And it’s particularly harmful to states that have already legalized recreational marijuana, such as Colorado. Even fellow Republicans are enraged by the move, and one GOP Senator from Colorado is taking drastic measures to stop it.
Republican Cory Gardner took to both Twitter and the floor of the Senate to announce he would be holding all Department of Justice nominees until the policy changed back to what it was. He retweeted a video from 2016 showing Donald Trump as a candidate clearly stating he would leave the decision up to the states.
— Brandon Rittiman (@BrandonRittiman) July 29, 2016
Gardner gave a fiery rebuke of both Sessions and Trump during his brief floor speech. He tore into both for breaking promises made to him and the American people that Colorado would not be negatively affected by any federal policy changes on marijuana. He stated:
I opposed the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. But this is about a decision by the state of Colorado and we were told that states’ rights would be protected. And not just by…then the nominee to be Attorney General. We were told that by then-candidate Donald Trump.
Gardner goes on to note the people of Colorado would likely be even more supportive of legal marijuana now than at the time they voted to legalize it. Polls in the state have shown support has remained strong since the 2012 vote allowing recreational marijuana. The state passed a milestone this past summer when tax revenue from marijuana sales surpassed half a billion dollars since January 2014.
Gardner finished his speech by announcing he would be blocking the DOJ nominees until Sessions reversed the decision.
I call on Attorney General Sessions to explain to me why President Trump was wrong in 2016 and what changed their minds. And that they reverse their decision…and until that happens…I will be putting today a hold on every single nomination from the Department of Justice until Attorney General Jeff Sessions lives up to the commitment that he made to me in my pre-confirmation meeting with him.
.@SenCoryGardner on Attorney General Jeff Sessions' #marijuana policy change: "I will be holding all nominations for the Department of Justice. The people of Colorado deserve answers." pic.twitter.com/BnVEkA54ag
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 4, 2018
Cory Gardner has butted heads with Donald Trump in the past. He even announced he would not be voting for him in last year’s election after the release of the infamous Access Hollywood tape in which Trump admits to sexually assaulting women.
Jeff Sessions has been a fierce opponent of marijuana in the past and ignorantly equated it to heroin, although he has since eased back on that belief. The Attorney General has also taken aim at medical marijuana and suggested it was part of what created the opioid epidemic, despite studies showing states with medicinal pot have lower opioid abuse problems.
Judging from the explosive day Republicans had yesterday as the Donald Trump-Steve Bannon feuded erupted, the party is dealing with tons of infighting at the moment. And considering the tough stand Cory Gardner appears to be taking against the Sessions-led DOJ, today doesn’t look any better for the GOP.
Featured image via Twitter.
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