54 lawmakers call on Trump administration to back off marijuana

Victoria Sarno Jordan

A bipartisan group of 54 lawmakers sent President Trump a letter on Thursday urging him to direct Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reinstate an Obama-era policy that gave states leeway in allowing marijuana for recreational purposes.

“We write with urgent concern regarding the recent steps taken by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to disrupt state efforts to implement their own marijuana enforcement policies,” reads the letter, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.). 

“As a candidate, you stated: ‘I really believe we should leave [marijuana] up to the states’ and that ‘it’s got to be a state decision,’ ” the letter stated.

“We trust that you still hold this belief, and we request that you urge the Attorney General to reinstate the Cole Memorandum.”


Sessions moved earlier this month to rescind the so-called Cole memo, which discouraged federal prosecutors from bringing marijuana-related charges in states that had legalized recreational use of the substance. 

The 2013 memo paved the way for many states to legalize recreational marijuana without fear of federal interference or prosecution. So far, nine states and the District of Columbia have moved to legalize recreational pot.

Sessions’s decision to rescind that policy drew criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, who said that doing so would infringe on states’ rights.

Tags Cole memo Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Jared Polis Jeff Sessions Justice Department

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