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President Trump has told a Colorado Senator that the Justice Department will not be interfering with states that have legalized marijuana. Senator Cory Gardner, who has been blocking Trump’s judicial nominees over the issue of states’ rights to marijuana, said he spoke with the president last Wednesday and received assurances that Colorado’s legal marijuana industry will not be impacted by the rescission of the Cole Memo. Gardner also indicated that Trump will support efforts in Congress to protect state-legal marijuana. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on Friday confirmed the news. [SANDERS CLIP: “We’re always consulting Congress about issues including states’ rights, of which the president is a firm believer, and the statement that the senator put out earlier today is accurate.]
Former Speaker of the House John Boehner is now in the business of selling marijuana. The Ohio Republican who ran the House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015, once said he was “unalterably opposed” to the legalization of marijuana. Fast-forward to last week, when Boehner announced via Twitter that he was joining the board of Acreage Holdings, a firm with 35 marijuana licenses in eleven states. Boehner, a heavy tobacco smoker who admits he’s never tried marijuana, also serves on the board of Reynolds American, the second largest Big Tobacco company in America. Speaking on CNBC, Boehner called for an end to all federal regulation of cannabis. [BOEHNER CLIP: It’s time for the federal government to take another look at this. I think descheduling this drug, allowing for the research, would be very helpful to the American people.] Federal descheduling would leave all marijuana policy to the states, a position more liberal on pot than called for by most Democrats.
Maine’s Governor Paul LePage tells Maine’s CBS 13 that the marijuana regulation bill making its way through the legislature will earn an “automatic veto” from him because it doesn’t eliminate medical marijuana. [LEPAGE CLIP: “If marijuana is legal, you can have medical, agricultural, retail, you can make beer with marijuana if you want. If it’s legal, it’s legal – so why do you need to have medical?”] While the bill maintains medical marijuana, for recreational users, the bill makes significant changes to the legalization initiative passed by Maine voters, including halving the number of allowed cannabis plants from six to three and eliminating the option of marijuana social clubs. The bill has already passed the Maine House with a veto-proof majority and awaits action in the Senate.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law sweeping reforms to the Commonwealth’s criminal justice system that includes repealing mandatory minimum sentencing for certain drug crimes. Much of the support for reform comes as Massachusetts is dealing with the national opioid overdose crisis [BAKER CLIP: “Until we signed this law, if you walked out the door and saw somebody selling carfentanyl, you couldn’t arrest them.”] State Rep. Russell Holmes tells Boston’s ABC 5 that attention to the issue of drug law reform began building as the overdoses began happening in white communities. [RUSSELL CLIP: “The sad part about all of this is that it wasn’t something that people think now is just an inner-city problem.]
Two Republican candidates for governor of Idaho slammed the current lieutenant governor for thwarting the progress of a cannabidiol bill in the legislature during a televised debate. Congressman Raul Labrador criticized the governor’s office for directing a Senate committee to kill the bill in secret. [LABRADOR CLIP: “They should’ve held a hearing and let the people of Idaho know why exactly they didn’t hold a hearing, they didn’t want CBD oil to be legal in Idaho. I believe it should be legal, I think it should be available to families in Idaho.] Businessman Tommy Ahlquist complained that pharmaceutical interests were at the heart of the current administration’s decision to kill CBD. [AHLQUIST CLIP: “There’s probably not a better example in the last year of where we’ve put politics over people. You can be 100 percent against the legalization of marijuana like I am, but let’s get CBD oil for the families in this state that need it.”] Even though no state that has recreational marijuana started through a CBD oil law, Lt. Gov. Brad Little likened the dead CBD bill to “the camel’s nose under the tent.” [LITTLE CLIP: “Medical marijuana started in other states, and then it led to recreational marijuana. But Idaho’s leading the nation in establishing this program where we’re controlling the quality to make sure it doesn’t morph into recreational marijuana.”]