Bipartisan lawmakers are urging the Trump administration to back off of marijuana, they wrote in a letter on Thursday.
The letter, an effort spearheaded by Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts and Representative Jared Polis, Democrat of Colorado, urged the president to stand in Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ way as he attempts to roll back protections for marijuana in the United States, focusing on the president’s campaign promises to leave marijuana alone. Fifty-four members of Congress signed.
“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.’ We trust that you still hold this belief, and we request that you urge the Attorney General to reinstate the Cole Memorandum,” the letter read.
In early January, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo, an Obama-era policy that said the Justice Department would leave it up to states to decide and enforce their marijuana-use laws. The DOJ would instead focus on things like organized drug crimes and sales to underage users. The rescission particularly affects nine states (plus the District of Columbia) that have legalized recreational marijuana, and the 29 states (plus the District of Columbia) that have legalized medical marijuana.
Sessions maintains the view that marijuana is dangerous, and that there isn’t enough research to prove its medical benefits.
The members of Congress added in the letter, “These new policies have helped eliminate the black market sale of marijuana and allowed law enforcement to focus on real threats to public health and safety.”
The signatures included those of Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Democrat of Oregon and Dana Rohrabacher, Republican of California, who are both the co-authors of a bill currently in flux that prevents the DOJ from spending any money on prosecuting medical marijuana in states where it’s legal.