Marijuana Friendly US Senator from Colorado Eases Up On DOJ
Colorado Republican US Senator will stop blocking nominees for some Justice Department jobs over concerns about the marijuana industry, saying Thursday that federal officials have shown good faith in recent conversations on the department’s marijuana policy.
Last month, Senator Cory Gardner used his power to freeze nominations for posts at the department after US Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Hussein Obama-era protections for states like Colorado that have broadly legalized recreational marijuana.
It was a dramatic move by a GOP Senator Vs his own party’s AG and came after Senator Gardner said AG Sessions promised him there would not be a crackdown in his state.
Senator Gardner said then that he placed holds on nominees until aG Sessions changed his approach.
The holds have created friction both with AG Sessions, who has complained that critical posts are going unfilled, and some of Senator Gardner’s fellow GOP Senators who want Key law enforcement officials in their states confirmed.
Thursday, Senator Gardner he has discussed the issue with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and has been pleased with progress so far.
Department leaders have “shown in good faith their willingness to provide what I think will be hopefully the protections we sought, and as sort of a good faith gesture on my behalf I’ll be releasing a limited number of nominees,” Senator Gardner said.
With that logjam broken, the Senator will release his holds on nominees for US attorneys in 12 federal districts, US Marshals in every district and on John Demers, who was nominated to head Justice’s national security division.
Senator Gardner did not say if Mr. Rosenstein offered any assurances that the DOJ would not crack down on the legal cannabis industry, but gave him enough comfort that Colorado’s acting US Attorney, Bob Troyer, will continue to focus on prosecuting people acting outside of Colorado’s voter-approved marijuana laws rather than those who follow them.
That follows a pledge Mr. Troyer made the day AG Sessions announced his agency’s new marijuana policy.
Senator Gardner will continue his hold the nominations of 7 top Department of Justice nominees. He is also working with a bi-partisan group of members of Congress to pursue legislation protecting states that have legalized marijuana.
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