GOP senator says Sessions broke pledge to him on marijuana policy

Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerBusinesses fear blowback from Russia sanctions bill Senate GOP campaign arm asking Trump to endorse McSally in Arizona: report When it comes to drone tech, wildfire officials need the rights tools for the job MORE (R-Colo.) threatened on Thursday to start holding up the confirmation process for White House Justice Department nominees unless Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Health Care: Supreme Court nomination reignites abortion fight in states | Trump urges Sessions to sue opioid makers | FDA approves first generic version of EpiPen Connect Beltway to America to get federal criminal justice reform done Dems urge tech companies to remove 3D-gun blueprints MORE reverses a decision to roll back a policy allowing legalized recreational use of marijuana in some states.

Gardner said in a series of tweets that Sessions had told him before he was confirmed by the Senate that he would not change an Obama-era policy that discouraged federal prosecutors from pursuing marijuana-related offenses in states where the substance had been legalized. Colorado is one of those states.

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Sessions moved on Thursday to roll back the so-called Cole memo, written by former U.S. Attorney General James Cole, which effectively gave states that chose to legalize marijuana the leeway to do so. So far, six states have legalized recreational use of the substance, though it remains federally prohibited. 

Gardner's home state, Colorado, was among the first states to legalize recreational marijuana use in 2012.

Sessions has been a longtime opponent of marijuana legalization. But in a 2016 interview with 9News in Denver, then-candidate Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpNFL players stand in tunnel during anthem, extending protests 12 former top intel officials blast Trump's move to revoke Brennan's security clearance NYT: Omarosa believed to have as many as 200 tapes MORE said that he would not support using federal power to crack down on marijuana legalization, adding that the issue should be left to the states. 

The Justice Department's reversal of the Cole memo on Thursday came three days after California's new law allowing recreational marijuana use went into effect.