Earlier today, it was announced that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is planning to rescind the Cole Memo, a Department of Justice policy instituted during the Obama administration that says they will not interfere with states legalizing marijuana as long as they stick to certain criteria. And while many people were unhappy with the announcement, one Republican senator was particularly angry.
Republican Cory Gardner from Colorado released a series of tweets accusing Sessions of breaking promises he made about marijuana policy prior to his confirmation as Attorney General. Gardner said he wouldn't just let the new policy take effect either. He says he will block any nominees to the Justice Department until Sessions reverses his decision.
This reported action directly contradicts what Attorney General Sessions told me prior to his confirmation. With no prior notice to Congress, the Justice Department has trampled on the will of the voters in CO and other states.— 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.— Cory Gardner (@SenCoryGardner) January 4, 2018
Gardner specifically mentions that President Trump on the campaign trail in 2016 that he believed marijuana laws should be left up to the states. However, Trump's been completely silent about cannabis legalization since taking office, and seems more than happy to let Sessions do whatever he wants as Attorney General.
While Sessions is going to rescind the Cole memo, it isn't entirely clear what that will actually mean. It would supposedly allow federal prosecutors to determine how aggressively they enforce federal marijuana laws, but the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment passed by Congress also prohibits the Department of Justice from using funds to prosecute cases in states where marijuana is legal.
So this is either Sessions' first shot in the War on Marijuana, or just another instance of the Trump administration making a symbolic gesture to appeal to their base.
(h/t The Hill)