Gardner Qualifies Threat To Hold Justice Department Nominees

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Denver7’s Blair Miller reports after Sen. Cory Gardner’s much-anticipated meeting today with Attorney General Jeff Sessions about federal marijuana policy–as readers know, Sessions last week rescinded the Cole Memorandum that allowed for a hands-off approach to enforcement of federal law in states where marijuana is legalized. In response, Gardner announced a hold on all Justice Department nominees until the guidance in Cole was reinstated:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions wasn’t swayed to immediately change his mind about his decision to rescind the Cole Memo after Wednesday’s meeting with Sen. Cory Gardner despite the Colorado Republican’s threat to withhold Justice Department nominees.

“I think the meeting kind of went as I expected it to,” Gardner told Denver7 after the Wednesday morning summit. “I shared my states’ rights position with Attorney General Sessions, and he shared his concern about the Cole Memorandum and why he rescinded it, and he also reiterated that the US attorneys will be in the position to make these determinations.”

Sessions agreed to meet with Gardner Wednesday after Gardner loudly balked at the decision to rescind the 2013 memo that protects states where marijuana is legal from extraneous federal enforcement.

Gardner has also told Sessions he will hold up Justice Department nominees until Sessions took a step back, though he admitted Tuesday that if the nominees have “overwhelming support” that it would “be difficult to stop them.” [Pols emphasis]

As of today, Blair reports, Gardner’s Justice Department holds remain–but this last statement signals clearly that Gardner’s holds either won’t last long or won’t matter. For all the praise Gardner received after making his bellicose threats last Friday, that would be a sheepish end that should get at least as much press attention.

Because as it turns out, maybe he really didn’t deserve all that praise.

With that said, it would be a mistake to rule out entirely the possibility that legislation to tie the Justice Department’s hands in legal marijuana states will come about as a result of Sessions’ threats. As of now, Gardner has paid only lip service to the protection of Colorado’s marijuana industry–and without the kind of confrontation marijuana supporters hoped Gardner would lead against Sessions last week, the most likely outcome now is an uneasy status quo that may well outlast Sessions’ tenure as Attorney General.

We’ll say it again and again: talk is cheap. And just like when Mike Coffman dropped his bid to force a discharge petition to vote on legislation to protect undocumented DREAMer students, Cory Gardner is getting credit that the facts of the situation do not appear to warrant.

If and when that changes, we’ll gratefully acknowledge it. But it hasn’t happened yet.

11 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. unnamed says:

    I'm shocked.  The scorpion stings again.  And this one won't Rock You Like a Hurricane.

  2. ModeratusModeratus says:

    This is silly of Gardner. Marijuana is illegal under federal law. He's a US Senator. Change the law if you don't like it.

    Gardner doesn't need to pander to the left like this.

    • unnamed says:

      So, nutlid.  Will you enlighten us as to when you support state and local rights over the big bad Federal Gubmint and when do you support the big bad Federal Gubmint over states rights?

    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      C'mon, Fluffy. This has to do with big money.  Who knows what kind of connections Sen. Spokesmodel has with the burgeoning Cannabis industry? You don't suppose Chuck and Dave have any interest in making a few billion more in the Cannabis and hemp industries …do you?

      Corey is riding the same bucking bronc that bucked off his Young Lion brethen, McNulty and Penry. He has held on a lot longer than they, but may be nearing the end of his ride. The next few weeks will see if the Con Man can ride out the tempest that has erupted over Sessions insane move. The vise tightens….

      If Corey really pisses off the fastest growing industry in Colorado, and all the rich corporate people drooling over this enormous pie, he may come to regret it.

      Good luck, Corey…..

      no…just kidding.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      For once I actually agree with you. Pass a damn bill to change the criminal status of it. He threatens to hold up nominees unless the AG agrees to not enforce a law Gardner is in a position to change.  WTF 

      And since Cory is in leadership McConnell owes him big time for his ass-kissing on the tax bill and repeal and replace.

    • spaceman65 says:

      Moddy, "pander to the left" is inaccurate.  Representing his constituents interests, including a whole mess of Coloradans from the right, is the accurate picture.  And we can save for another day the concept of executive discretion in the enforcement of existing laws.  But nuance is not your strong suit

  3. The realistThe realist says:

    " . . . that would be a sheepish end that should get at least as much press attention." The term sheepish end seems to be naturally associated with Gardner – big move to gain media attention, then – don't look now, but nothing happened!

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