Cory Gardner meets with Jeff Sessions on marijuana, says neither giving ground

Mark K. Matthews
The Denver Post
Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., flanked by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to reporters following a weekly, closed-door strategy session, at the Capitol in Washington Jan. 9, 2018.
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner said Wednesday that a morning meeting with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions did little to settle their disagreement over marijuana policy — an impasse that makes it more likely that Congress will have to address the issue.

Gardner told Denver7 that Sessions gave no indication that he would reverse his decision last week to reverse an Obama-era policy — known as the Cole Memorandum — which generally left alone states that legalized marijuana.

“I think the meeting kind of went as I expected it to,” Gardner, R-Colo., told Denver7. “I shared my states’ rights position with Attorney General Sessions, and he shared his concern about the Cole Memorandum and why he rescinded it.”

Because Sessions isn’t backing down, Gardner said, he plans to pursue a legislative fix, either through a stand-alone measure or an amendment to bigger bill.

One idea that has gained traction among Colorado lawmakers is an amendment to a coming budget bill that would prohibit the Justice Department from spending money on marijuana enforcement in states such as Colorado that have legalized pot.

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