Gard­ner’s view.

Se­na­tor says new AG should re­spect states’ rights on mar­i­juana.

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Anna Staver

The next U.S. at­tor­ney gen­eral is go­ing to have to re­spect the de­ci­sion of Col­orado and other states to le­gal­ize recre­ational and med­i­cal mar­i­juana — at least if Repub­li­can Sen. Cory Gard­ner has his way.

“Who­ever comes af­ter him is go­ing to face some pretty tough ques­tions about where they stand on states’ rights and mak­ing sure they will stand up for states’ rights,” Gard­ner told The Den­ver Post on Thurs­day. “I am go­ing to de­mand that the new at­tor­ney gen­eral side with the pres­i­dent be­cause the pres­i­dent is right on states’ rights.”

Gard­ner blocked Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s nom­i­nees to the Jus­tice Depart­ment for three months in early 2018 af­ter At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions re­scinded some­thing called the Cole Mem­o­ran­dum, an Oba­maera pol­icy that out­lined a set of rules for states that le­gal­ized mar­i­juana to fol­low if they wanted to avoid fed­eral in­ter­ven­tion.

“I ob­vi­ously had my dif­fer­ences with At­tor­ney Gen­eral Ses­sions, par­tic­u­larly as it re­lated to the Cole Mem­o­ran­dum,” Gard­ner said.

He ended his block­ade in April af­ter talk­ing to Trump on the phone and get­ting what he de­scribed as a com­mit­ment to pro­tect Col­orado and other states where mar­i­juana is le­gal.

When asked what should hap­pen to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion by spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller into pos­si­ble co­or­di­na­tion be­tween the 2016 Trump cam­paign and Rus­sia, Gard­ner said it should “ab­so­lutely con­tinue,” add- ing that “the pres­i­dent has said he wants it to con­tinue.”

But Gard­ner was less cer­tain about whether he’d sup­port a bill to pro­tect the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which his out­go­ing col­league, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ari­zona, says he will try to pass be­fore leav­ing of­fice.

Sen. Michael Ben­net, a Col­orado Demo­crat, was clear about his po­si­tion on Twit­ter.

“Our in­sti­tu­tions are be­ing tested,” he wrote af­ter the news of Ses­sions’ res­ig­na­tion broke. “The Se­nate Ma­jor­ity must stand up for the rule of law in­stead of cow­er­ing from its re­spon­si­bil­ity as an in­de­pen­dent check on this Pres­i­dent and his ef­fort to un­der­mine the Mueller in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

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