Left: U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, D-Colo.(Special to The Denver Post, David Zalubowski) Right: U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, R-Colo. (Kathryn Scott Osler, The Denver Post)

Colorado lawmakers fail in bid to shield recreational marijuana from feds

Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner wanted to pin language protecting state-legal marijuana to must-pass spending bill

WASHINGTON — A $1.3 trillion plan to fund the federal government through the end of September won’t include protections for the recreational marijuana industry — a blow to Colorado lawmakers who tried to add that language to the must-pass bill.

The legislators wanted the measure to include a provision that would prohibit the U.S. Department of Justice from spending money to crack down on recreational use in states that had legalized the drug.

Congress has protected medical marijuana this way for the past several years — and did so again in the 2,232-page spending bill — but several Colorado lawmakers wanted to broaden that shield after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in January rescinded an Obama-era policy that generally left alone states such as Colorado that had legalized marijuana.

U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner of Colorado were among 18 senators who wrote to the Senate Committee on Appropriations in February with the request that its members “respect states’ laws regarding the regulation of marijuana.”

“It is our hope that the fiscal year 2018 appropriations will alleviate the turbulence the attorney general’s abrupt decision has caused and that the appropriations will help preserve the strong regulatory frameworks the states have created,” they wrote.

Read the full article at DenverPost.com

Read the Feb. 12 letter requesting protections for state marijuana laws

Bipartisan Letter on Marijuana Enforcement Sent to Senate Appropriations Committee (Text)

This story was first published on DenverPost.com