The Trump Administration Backs Down From Battle Over Legal Pot

Negotiations by a Colorado Republican senator prompted the change.

Supporters hold flags near the East Front of the Capitol in Washington, Monday, April 24, 2017, during a rally to support the legalization of marijuana.Alex Brandon/AP

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In a surprising turn of events, the Trump administration will ditch intentions to crack down on the dozens of states that have legalized the production, distribution, and possession of pot for medical or recreational use.

The policy flip came straight from the mouth of President Donald Trump, who promised Republican Cory Gardner (R-Co.) that the administration won’t interfere in states’ legal cannabis industries. 

Just months ago, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed an Obama-era policy, known as the Cole memo, which allowed cannabis farms and businesses to operate without fear of federal intervention. The reversal was immediately met with strong opposition from states’ rights advocates, including Gardner, who believed that under Trump, states’ cannabis laws would be respected.

In protest of the memo’s repeal, Gardner began blocking Justice Department nominees.

On Wednesday, Trump responded. “Since the campaign, President Trump has consistently supported states’ rights to decide for themselves how best to approach marijuana,” said Gardner in a statement on Friday. “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.”

Gardner, in turn, promised Friday to lift any remaining holds on DOJ nominees.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed the conversation between Gardner and Trump. “We’re always consulting Congress about issues, including states’ rights, of which the President is a firm believer,” she said. 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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