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Cory Gardner “confident” Trump won’t meddle in Colorado marijuana policy despite report to contrary

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, remains “confident” President Donald Trump will keep his promise not to meddle with state marijuana policy despite a report that the White House asked federal agencies to compile statistics and stories that paint the drug in a negative light.

“There seems to be a lot of interest in these storylines going around about how staff are trying to manipulate the president or to work around his firmly held policy positions – including the position he’s held since the campaign that marijuana policy is best left to the states  …,” Gardner spokesman Alex Siciliano said.

The storyline comes from an article first published Wednesday by BuzzFeed News about The Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee. It reportedly asked 14 federal agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration to provide “data demonstrating the most significant negative trends” about marijuana and how it might threaten the country. The reported purpose behind amassing all these data points was to brief the president.

“Regardless of the accuracy of the story, Senator Gardner remains confident in the commitment the president made to him to support a states’ rights solution to the current disconnect on marijuana law,” Siciliano said.

Trump has talked about marijuana as being a states’ rights issue since 2016, but other members of his administration disagree with that position. In January, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama administration policy of non-interference with states if they followed a set of guidelines on marijuana. Gardner responded by blocking nominees to the Department of Justice until the president promised to support a federal bill to let states pursue marijuana legalization without the threat of federal prosecution.

“I support Sen. Gardner,” Trump told reporters when asked about the bill in June. “I know exactly what he’s doing. We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes.”

Other members of Colorado’s delegation are skeptical about how much faith should be placed in a presidential promise.

“President Trump is flailing on marijuana policy, sometimes saying the states should decide, while also allowing the attorney general and other prohibition supporters in his purview to run amuck,” said Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder. “If the White House is actually spreading misinformation about marijuana to undercut states’ rights, it’s appalling but not out of the ordinary for President Trump and his gang of prohibition supporters.”

Polis, who is running to be Colorado’s next governor, wants Congress to pass the STATES Act co-sponsored by Gardner and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts. He was a co-sponsor of a companion measure introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Allowing responsible adults to legally buy marijuana gives money to classrooms not cartels; creates jobs, not addicts; and boosts the economy, not the prison population,” Polis said.

Marijuana industry advocates weren’t surprised to hear that federal officials were looking for numbers that could tell a negative story about cannabis.