Sen. Cory Gardner should be commended applying pressure to Attorney General Jeff Sessions after he rescinded the Cole Memo that had protected states like Colorado that have legalized recreational marijuana sales.
Gardner is a Republican leader who listens to constituents — in Colorado and across the nation. He is listening to the 64 percent of Americans (including 51 percent of Republicans) who support the legalization of both adult-use and medical cannabis legalization.
He is a Republican leader walking the walk. He has shown other politicians what it looks like to have the guts to stand their ground on what’s right.
He’s worked to hold Sessions accountable for promises he made prior to his confirmation as attorney general, that there would be no change in federal cannabis policy.
Gardner is standing strong and didn’t lift holds on Department of Justice nominees until he received new assurances from DOJ officials about enforcement of federal cannabis laws. I hope he will continue to defend the will of Colorado voters in the coming months, and I hope that other senators, congressmen, governors and state attorneys general follow his lead.
While he didn’t personally support the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, he put himself out there to protect states’ rights and the choice and wishes of Colorado voters.
He went further and co-sponsored the Small Business Tax Equity Act, to clean up IRS code 280E, to allow cannabis-related businesses to take federal tax deductions and credits. He has taken the time to understand how the current tax code, by penalizing cannabis businesses in this way, is hindering the growth of our industry. As he said, “It’s time for the federal government to allow Colorado businesses to compete.” Having an equal playing field in the tax system will allow us to create more jobs and further boost Colorado’s economy.
Most of all, Gardner is showing that he understands that the regulated cannabis industry is vital to Colorado, and protecting that industry is doing what’s right for Colorado.
While we have yet to reach the goal of federal legalization, strong actions from politicians like Gardner help move us closer, raising awareness and building bipartisan support.