Colorado Senator and US Attorney General Sessions protest, butt heads over Cole Memo


Annureet Kaur

Political unrest reached an all time high after Colorado senator decided to protest against US Attorney General Jeff Sessions action to repeal the Cole Memo – a memo that prevented federal interference in states with legal cannabis laws.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner threatened to hold up Department of Justice nominations until Sessions made changes. The two met last month to resolve their issues, but neither budged.

“Too often, we’ve seen bad judements, even politics enter into the work that we do,” Sessions said in a speech at a National Sheriffs’ Association meeting. “We’re trying to confirm a number of important component heads at the Department of Justice. It’s just getting to be frustrating. I’ve gotta tell you. Our nominee to the National Security Division — the anti-terrorism division— was approved unanimously in the committee. But because right now one senator’s concerns over unrelated issues—like reversing federal law agains marijuana—we can’t even get a vote.”

Without naming names, Sessions was referring to Sen. Gardner, who has singedhandedly prevented the Trump administration’s Justice Department nominees from being formally confirmed – all to protest Session’s decision to repeal the Cole Memo.

“There was no breakthrough yet,” Gardner told NPR. “But I hope there will be. I have not changed my decision to hold these nominations until we have a commitment that lives up to what I believe was given to me prior to the confirmation.”

 The anti-cannabis move by Sessions received backlash and scrutiny from both parties, but Gardner took his disappointments to new level by protesting against the attorney general.

“I cannot and will not pretend that a duty enacted law of this country – like the federal ban on marijuana – does not exist. Marijuana is illegal in the United States – even in Colorado, California, and everywhere else in America,” Sessions said in a press release. “We need our nominees confirmed. Safety and security are important and those of use who are gathered here know that protecting the safety and security of the American people is the mission that we share.”

While neither the senator nor the US Attorney General want to budge, several lawmakers are proposing bills to replace the Cole Memo to prevent federal interference with state law especially when it comes to cannabis.