Colorado lawmakers are resisting US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ change to the way states deal with legal pot.
On Thursday, Sessions announced he would rescind an Obama-era memo which eased federal enforcement in states that legalized recreational and medical marijuana.
The change allows US Attorneys in states where pot is legal to “decide how aggressively to enforce longstanding federal law prohibiting it,” reports the Associated Press.
Several lawmakers in Colorado, where citizens voted to legalize marijuana in 2012, say the change is an encroachment on states’ rights and the people’s will.
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R) issued a tweet claiming the “Justice Department has trampled on the will of the voters in CO and other states.”
I am prepared to take all steps necessary, including holding DOJ nominees, until the Attorney General lives up to the commitment he made to me prior to his confirmation.
— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) January 4, 2018
“I am prepared to take all steps necessary, including holding DOJ nominees, until the Attorney General lives up to the commitment he made to me prior to his confirmation,” Sen. Gardner said in a follow up tweet.
Sen. Cory Gardner: "I will be putting today a hold on every single nomination from the Dept. of Justice until Attorney General Jeff Sessions lives up to the commitment that he made to me" on legalized marijuana in Colorado. https://t.co/NkJuIoh4fP pic.twitter.com/GSE8N85YoP
— ABC News (@ABC) January 4, 2018
Gardner said Sessions had previously told him he had no intention to go after legal pot.
“What Jeff Sessions said is he didn’t think it was on Trump’s agenda to do this, he didn’t think President Trump had the bandwidth to do this, and he had no plans to repeal the Cole memorandum,” Gardner stated.
Furthermore, Gardner highlighted President Trump – on the campaign trail – had indicated marijuana legalization would be a states’ rights issue.
“Why does Jeff Sessions think President Trump was wrong?” Gardner asked.
Colorado Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet claimed Sessions “failed to listen to Colorado,” while Republican Colorado US Rep. Mike Coffman also pledged to fight the federal overreach.
— Rep. Mike Coffman (@RepMikeCoffman) January 4, 2018
“Colorado had every right to legalize marijuana, and I will do everything I can to protect that right against the power of an overreaching federal government,” Coffman stated.
In the meantime, Colorado US Attorney Bob Troyer says he’ll maintain the state’s current stance, noting his office would continue “identifying and prosecuting those who create the greatest safety threats to our communities around the state.”
“Today the Attorney General rescinded the Cole Memo on marijuana prosecutions, and directed that federal marijuana prosecution decisions be governed by the same principles that have long governed all of our prosecution decisions,” Troyer said.
Sessions’ move comes only three days after California officially legalized recreational marijuana.