Sessions Pot Stance Prompts Political Firestorm

In Colorado, one of the first states to legalize marijuana, the interim U.S. Attorney says his priorities won’t change. But Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, says the attorney general “trampled on the will of the voters.”

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement giving federal prosecutors more leeway to crack down on legal marijuana set off a political firestorm in Colorado, with some of the state’s fellow Republicans charging the Trump administration with trampling on the will of voters and even overreach, the Denver Post reports. The immediate impact of Sessions’ unraveling of several Obama-era policy memos that set out guidelines for states to follow, such as keeping marijuana from crossing state borders , as unclear. Across the board, the change caught officials by surprise. “I would encourage people not to freak out,” said Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. She said interim U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer indicated that he would remain focused on black and gray markets and not shift to a crackdown on legal recreational or medical marijuana sales in Colorado. Troyer issued a statement saying he anticipated no major change in his office’s enforcement priorities.

Colorado’s elected officials viewed Sessions’ announcement as a shot across the bow that threatened to interfere with Colorado’s legal markets. U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, was among those who lashed out at Sessions, saying the nation’s top law enforcement officer had “trampled on the will of the voters.” Gardner said thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue were at risk. “Before I voted to confirm Attorney General Sessions, he assured me that marijuana would not be a priority for this administration,” Gardner said, adding that Sessions’ announcement “directly contradicts what I was told, and I am prepared to take all steps necessary, including holding (Justice Department) nominees, until the attorney general lives up to the The controversy left the cannabis industry in a state of uncertainty, with pot stocks plunging and some experts predicting more fallout.