When Attorney General Jeff Sessions broke a Trump campaign promise and rescinded the Cole Memo last month, ending protection from federal prosecution for states with legal marijuana. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) was furious and, in a tweet, said that he would block all Justice Department nominees.
It appears that Sen. Gardner is a man of his word, and he has indeed blocked 11 Department of Justice nominees from getting a confirmation vote so far. Sen. Gardner said that Sessions told him before his confirmation as Attorney General that he would respect state rights and would not use federal law to interfere with state-level marijuana legalization measures. Gardner has said that he will continue to block the Justice Department nominees until assurances are given that the 10th Amendment -protecting state rights – is honored at the Justice Department.
The two men met soon after Sessions rescinded the Obama Administration's guidelines regarding marijuana prosecution, which received bipartisan criticism. Sen. Gardner told reporters that the men still disagreed after the meeting. Gardner had said his discussions with the U.S. Attorney General had reached an impasse and that the issue was now up to Congress.
Early Monday, Forbes reported while speaking at a meeting for the National Sheriff's Association, Sessions further fueled the fire in his feud with Gardner. Sessions said that the Department of Justice is waiting on confirmations for his nominees to the National Security Division. Sessions went on to say politics was playing a role in the delayed confirmations for the anti-terror division, citing his refusal to "reverse" federal law as the reason that Gardner had blocked the nominations.
Sessions called Gardner's actions a bad judgment, adding that he was frustrated by the blocked confirmations over "unrelated issues," singling out Gardner without using his name.
Sessions Made More Racist Statements Monday
Not to be outdone by his previous racist remarks, Sessions added to his racism repertoire when he complimented the country's sheriffs for being Caucasians when he said, “The office of sheriff is a critical part of the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement.” He added that such heritage should be preserved.
Sessions has said in the past that he was fine with the Ku Klux Klan until he learned that they smoked marijuana (a joke, he claimed after). The NAACP tried to block his confirmation based on his history of misogyny and racism.
Sessions, no doubt, purposely implied that Sen. Gardner cares more about Colorado's marijuana than national security, suggesting Gardner was endangering the country with terror attacks. Sessions was quoted as saying, “We need our [Justice Department] nominees confirmed. Safety and security are important," adding that the mission is for the security of the American people.
The Attorney General's decision to revoke the Cole Memo was an indication of the current administration's agenda on marijuana legalization. The Trump Administration recently interfered with international efforts to embrace medical marijuana. Trump reportedly had called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally to request that Israel cancel their medical marijuana export program.
The Jerusalem Post has reported Israel agreed to put the marijuana export program on hold, despite more than $100 million being invested globally in the program and leaving hundreds of farmers with uncertain futures. The suggestion of Israel proceeding with the medical marijuana exports without America in the mix were answered with Netanyahu saying he did not want to go against the United States' policy regarding marijuana.
Senator Gardner has yet to respond to the Attorney General's latest comments; however, in his previous comments regarding the revocation of the Cole Memo, Gardner said that Sessions lied to him and the Attorney General had trampled on voter and state rights.