A press release over the weekend from the National Fraternal Order of Police tears into Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado but good over his hold on nominees to the Department of Justice after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era guidance to U.S. Attorneys protecting marijuana commerce in states that have legalized:
The members of the Fraternal Order of Police are disappointed and very frustrated by the vow made by Senator Cory S. Gardner (R-CO) to hold up all nominees for vacant posts in the U.S. Department of Justice following the decision to rescind the Cole Memo and restore discretion to our nation’s U.S. Attorneys on investigations into violations of Federal drug laws involving marijuana.
Senator Gardner has come out swinging to defend the pot industry in his State. However, the fact that he believes Colorado can profit from the sale of this illegal drug does not give him the right to hold up or delay the appointment of critical personnel at the Justice Department. How can he justify putting at risk the public safety of all 50 States to advance the interests of the pot industry in his own?
The FOP has repeatedly made our concerns about current vacancies in the Justice Department and other key Administration posts known. Senator Gardner does a real disservice to the nation as a whole and we urgently ask him to reconsider his rash and ill-advised obstructionism.
Policy differences should be worked out by a dialogue and not turn into hostage situations. The ability of the Justice Department to carry out its nationwide mission should not be compromised by a single Senator trying to make it easier for business in his State to sell marijuana—an illegal drug as far as the Federal government is concerned.
After Sen. Gardner enjoyed no small amount of favorable local press for publicly throwing down in defense of marijuana with Sessions, this more recent backlash from the FOP hasn’t received nearly as much attention. One exception to that is conservative blogger and former GOP legislative staffer Dan Njegomir over at the former Colorado Statesman:
It’s usually a friend to the GOP, having endorsed Donald Trump for president in 2016, but the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest law-enforement [sic] labor union, has come out swinging at Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner. What’s the beef? Gardner’s vow to hold up nominees to the many vacant posts in the U.S. Justice Department after the Trump administration announced it was giving the department more leeway to crack down on pot-legalizing states like Colorado.
With Sen. Gardner’s support in polls quickly declining, perhaps most critically with base law-and-order Republicans who are generally speaking not big fans of the devil-weed, pressure on Gardner to fold on his nominee holds could become an interesting predicament for him. With Colorado’s U.S. Attorney having disarmed fears of an immediate crackdown on the retail marijuana industry following Sessions’ change of policy, though with plenty of uncertainty about the long term under the Trump administration remaining, Gardner may have taken an position that burns him no matter what he does next.
But remember, the promise Gardner made was not to the cops.