Politicians and cannabis industry insiders, alike, were surprised Monday morning by Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner’s announcement that he has struck a deal with President Donald J. Trump that would protect states’ marijuana laws from federal interference.
In a statement that summarized much of the reaction, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), the co-founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, in a statement called the announcement “another head spinning moment.”
“We should hope for the best, but not take anything for granted. Trump changes his mind constantly, and Republican leadership is still in our way,” he said. “Momentum is clearly building in the states and here in DC. The tide is changing. Now is the time to redouble our efforts.”
He followed up with at tweet that asked, “can you feel the earth shifting for lasting marijuana reform??”
Trump’s announcement . . . Boehner, our longtime opponent, joining a cannabis company . . . movement on the ground—MI, IL, MO . . . can you feel the earth shifting for lasting marijuana reform?? https://t.co/cFz4jwAng8
— Earl Blumenauer (@repblumenauer) April 13, 2018
In Colorado, a state that blazed the trail in marijuana legalization, Mason Tvert, co-director of the Amendment 64 campaign and vice president of communications at VS Strategies, a Denver-based public affairs firm that specializes in the cannabis industry, expressed gratitude to Sen. Gardner for standing up for the people of Colorado.
“Colorado has taken great strides toward replacing the illegal marijuana market with a responsibly regulated system. It has been a long and difficult process, but we may now be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. This is one more step toward ending the irrational policy of marijuana prohibition, not only in Colorado, but throughout the country,” he said in a statement.
Adam Eidinger, the Washington, D.C. (and soon to be Maryland) legalization advocate behind the city’s Initiative 71, which legalized possession of up to two ounces of marijuana for residents and visitors, said the announcement ushered the movement into “a whole new world.”
“I think the president is desperate to recover in popularity and fulfilling campaign promise that cuts across party affiliation,” he told The Cannabist.
The moment, he hopes, will fire up the debate about what marijuana legalization should look like.
“This is good news for business,” he said pointing out the surge in cannabis stock prices Friday, “but will it be good news for consumers, patients, and individuals who just want the right to use their own cannabis?”
Joe Hodas, COO, General Cannabis Corp, a Denver-based holding company for multiple marijuana subsidiaries, said his reaction to the day’s developments wasn’t dissimilar to how he reacted to news in January that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was rescinding the Cole Memo.
“We listen, watch, and continue to do what’s right and compliant,” he told The Cannabist.
Andy Williams, Founder and President of Medicine Man Technologies, a publicly traded cannabis advisory and consulting firm, called out the work of conserviative-leaning politicians and advocacy groups.
“Yet again, we see Senator Cory Gardner stepping up for Colorado and making a big impact on cannabis industry,” he said in a statement. “Kudos to the New Federalism Fund on the work they did to educate Republicans like Gardner on marijuana issues. The next step from here should be making law out of Cole memo, so it’s legislation instead of a referendum. I believe this also has potential to fix banking and 280e.”
The appreciation for conservative efforts to move Trump was echoed by Don Murphy, director of conservative outreach for the Marijuana Policy Project, who said that Gardner has done a great service for his constituents by standing up for federalism.
“Everyone who knew about President Trump’s statements on this issue during the campaign were hoping he would uphold those values and support states’ abilities to enact laws regulating marijuana for medical or adult use while in office,” he said. “This news should make states more comfortable implementing their legalization programs. It should also serve as a rallying cry for lawmakers to pass comprehensive legislation that leaves marijuana policy to the states permanently.”
This article was originally featured on The Denver Post.