Less than a week after Sessions made the decision to rescind the Cole Memo, Colorado US Senator Cory Gardner made a promise to protect Colorado cannabis rights.
Gardner Upholds His Promise to Block Department of Justice Nominees
In January, Gardner gave Sessions an option. Either reinstate the Cole Memo, or he would block all appointments related to the Department of Justice.
Sessions refused to back down on his decision…and Gardner is staying true to his word.
According to the Denver Post, Gardener’s obstruction has prevented as many as 11 nominees from getting a Senate floor vote, which is the last major step before they can start work.
US Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa is the person responsible for getting the nominees to the Senate floor. According to Grassley the situation “may never resolve itself.”
Sessions has made it clear he will not back down on his cannabis crackdown, so Gardner is doing the same in a crackdown of his own.
National Fraternal Order of Police President Calls Gardner’s Move a “Hostage Situation”
Aside from the 11 Senate floor nominees, Gardner’s decision has affected more than 20 other DOJ nominees. Jobs that are currently immobilized include US Marshalls and US Attorneys across the country.
Chuck Canterbury, president of the National Fraternal Order of Police, believes Gardner has done a “real disservice to the nation as a whole.”
“We urgently ask him to reconsider his rash and ill-advised obstructionism,” Canterbury said. “Policy differences should be worked out by dialogue and not turn into hostage situations.”
Those who support the Cole Memo and the protection of cannabis rights could easily argue the same.
No Resolution in Sight
While Gardner and Sessions have not come to an a agreement, negotiations are apparently still taking place.
Gardner spokesman, Casey Contres says, “Our staff and DOJ staff continue to talk and meet to discuss a path forward which recognizes Colorado’s state’s rights and ensures law enforcement has the authority and tools needed to protect our communities. These discussions continue to be necessary and we appreciate their willingness to have them.”
What the path moving forward is however, remains yet to be seen.
Lawmakers are discussing preparing a language that would prohibit the DOJ from spending funds on enforcing federal cannabis laws in legal states.
It’s expected however, that it could be another month before there is any resolution. Gardner has no plans to back down on his decision to keep the Justice Department on hold.