Sun, Apr 15, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Trump vows to back pot industry

AP, DENVER, Colorado

US President Donald Trump has promised to support legislation protecting the marijuana industry in states that have legalized the drug, a move that could lift a threat to the industry made by the US attorney general just three months ago.

US Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado on Friday said that Trump made the pledge to him in a Wednesday night conversation.

It marked the latest flip by the US president, who pledged while he was campaigning to respect states that legalized marijuana, but also criticized legalization and implied it should be stopped.

Gardner has been pushing to reverse a decision made in January by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions that removed prohibitions that kept federal prosecutors from pursuing cases against people who were following pot laws in states, such as Colorado, that have legalized the drug.

Marijuana has been fully legalized in eight states, and 24 states allow some form of marijuana use.

“President Trump has assured me that he will support a federalism-based legislative solution to fix this states’ rights issue once and for all,” Gardner said in a statement.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Gardner’s account was accurate and the US president supported states’ rights in the matter.

Gardner hopes to introduce bipartisan legislation keeping the federal government from interfering in state marijuana markets.

Marijuana legalization advocates were ebullient.

“We may now be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Mason Tvert, who spearheaded the 2012 ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana in Colorado. “This is one more step toward ending the irrational policy of marijuana prohibition, not only in Colorado, but throughout the country.”

Other proponents of legalization were wary given the US president’s record of reversing positions and pledges of legislative support.

“This cannot be another episode of @realDonaldTrump telling somebody whatever they want to hear, only to change directions later on,” US Senator Ron Wyden wrote on Twitter.

During his campaign, Trump said states should be able to chart their own course on marijuana.

“I’m a states person, it should be up to the states, absolutely,” he told one television interviewer in Colorado in 2016.

However, at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2015, Trump said he supported medical marijuana, but called recreational “bad.”

He singled out Colorado, the first state in the US to allow recreational marijuana sales.

“They’ve got a lot of problems going on right now in Colorado — some big problems,” Trump told the crowd.

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