President Trump Indicates Softer Stance on Cannabis

After threatening to block any Department of Justice nominations following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ revocation of the Cole Memorandum, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado said in a statement that President Trump has given him assurances that states in which marijuana is legal will be protected from federal interference.

Per Senator Gardner:

Since the campaign, President Trump has consistently supported states’ rights to decide for themselves how best to approach marijuana. Late Wednesday, I received a commitment from the President that the Department of Justice’s rescission of the Cole memo will not impact Colorado’s legal marijuana industry. Furthermore, President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all.

Because of these commitments, I have informed the Administration that I will be lifting my remaining holds on Department of Justice nominees. My colleagues and I are continuing to work diligently on a bipartisan legislative solution that can pass Congress and head to the President’s desk to deliver on his campaign position.

If true, this indicates a willingness on the part of the president to break sharply from the stance of Attorney General Sessions, who, in nixing the Cole Memo, essentially put all options back on the table in terms of the federal government’s approach to prosecuting state-legal marijuana operators. It also comes on the heels of the public support of some current and former members of Republican leadership, including former House Speaker John Boehner, who recently announced his plan to join the board of marijuana cultivator, processor, and dispensary Acreage Holdings, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, an outspoken proponent of hemp.

While this recent news will comfort many of the marijuana businesses, entrepreneurs, patients, and recreational users who were unnerved by the attorney’s general’s aggressive tone at the beginning of the year, the CannaBusiness Advisory has always maintained, and continues to assert, that federal prosecution of state-legal operators is not in the best interest of any party involved and, for that reason, remains an option that’s unlikely to be explored any time soon.