No marijuana policy changes after Gardner meets with Sessions

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WASHINGTON — There was no progress reported after Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner met Wednesday morning with U.S. Attorney General regarding their disagreement over marijuana policy.

Last week, Sessions reversed an Obama-era policy that now allows U.S. Attorneys to have more discretion in prosecuting marijuana cases in states where pot is legal.

“Nobody changed their mind in today’s meeting,” Gardner said.

Under the Cole Memorandum that Sessions revoked, the federal government left alone states that legalized marijuana.

“I reiterated my concern that states’ rights were being infringed on through this action and we agreed to continue talks,” Gardner said in a statement after the meeting with Sessions.

“I also hope to expand these discussions with the Justice Department to include several of my Democrat and Republican colleagues about what steps can be taken legislatively to protect Colorado’s rights.”

Gardner has convened a bipartisan group of senators to work on legislation protecting states with legal marijuana.

Other Colorado legislators are also pushing for an amendment to the spending bill that would prevent the Department of Justice from spending money to prosecute legal state marijuana use.

Colorado is one of eight states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Voters approved it in 2012 and the first legal sales began on Jan. 1, 2014.

Sessions’ move drew immediate strong objection from Gardner, who said Sessions “basically lied” to him about making the decision.

Gardner has moved to block nominees to the Department of Justice until there is a resolution on the issue.

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has cautioned Coloradans to not “freak out” about the decision by Sessions.

U.S. Attorney for Colorado Bob Troyer has said there will be no change in marijuana enforcement.

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