Sen. Cory Gardner; photo via Gage Skidmore
It’s been one month since U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions revoked the Obama-era Cole memo, opening state-legal cannabusinesses to the whims of federal prosecutors, and even after near-unanimous rebukes and professional roadblocks from federal legislators, the nation’s prohibitionist top cop can’t seem to shake his anti-cannabis obsession.
According to Marijuana Moment, A.G. Sessions reiterated his controversial opinions on cannabis during a speech at conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation during an event celebrating the life of Ronald Reagan, a president who ramped up America’s War on Drugs.
“We don’t think illegal drug use is ‘recreation.’ Lax enforcement, permissive rhetoric, and the media have undermined the essential need to say no to drug use. Don’t start,” Sessions said in his speech Tuesday. “That’s what President Trump said to us the other day in a meeting. What did Nancy Reagan say? Just say no. Don’t start this stuff.”
By using the word “recreation,” Sessions makes it clear he’s referring to America’s cannabis reform movement, admonishing legal marijuana users even in the face of the country’s still-growing opioid epidemic, which continues to inflict hundreds of overdose deaths every single day.
But as Sessions continues to ignore evidence-based studies which demonstrate cannabis’ ability to help wean users off opioids, the Denver Post reports that one American lawmaker is doing his best to keep the Attorney General accountable for his reefer madness mania.
After Sessions announced the termination of the Cole memo in January, Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) promised that he would lead a Senate floor block of any nominees to the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) Trump and Sessions put forth until protections were restored to the country’s legal cannabis industry.
With Sessions unwilling to budge on his anti-marijuana move, Sen. Gardner has followed through on his word, blocking 11 potential DOJ personnel since last month’s legal weed decree.
Standing in the way of confirming presidential nominees, Gardner has blocked the appointment of U.S. marshals and federal attorneys across the country, with at least 20 potential federal employees still waiting in the wings for the necessary, and now unlikely, congressional approval.
Gardner, a conservative himself, voted against legalizing weed in his home state of Colorado, but says that he has always respected the rights of voters, and will continue to fight for those constituents in Washington D.C.
“He opposed the legalization of marijuana in 2012, but is not going to sit back and let Colorado’s rights be trampled on by the federal government,” Gardner spokesperson Casey Contres said in a statement about the legislative blockades.
Gardner and his legislative peers have suggested adding protections for America’s adult-use and medical cannabis industries into a Congressional spending plan, but with nothing but stopgaps still standing in the way of a government shutdown and no path yet carved to a long-term federal budget, those precautions are still just hypotheticals.
And with Sessions’ statements at Tuesday’s Heritage Foundation event suggesting the Attorney General has no plans to amend his outdated views on cannabis, all indications suggest that Sen. Gardner will continue his promised filibuster.