President Trump told reporters Friday morning that he probably will end up supporting a bill cointroduced by US Senator Elizabeth Warren that would allow states to set their own marijuana policies without the threat of federal interference.
Warren and her cosponsor, Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, filed legislation Thursday that would amend the Controlled Substances Act to exempt from prosecution anyone acting in compliance with state marijuana laws. Gardner had said Thursday that Trump told him directly he was looking for a compromise on the conflict between federal and state laws on marijuana.
Then Friday, while taking questions from the media before leaving the summit of G-7 leaders in Canada, Trump addressed the subject directly.
“I support Senator Gardner. I know exactly what he’s doing,” Trump said. “We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes.”
Gardner had previously blocked Senate confirmation of the Trump administration’s Justice Department nominees after US Attorney General Jeff Sessions in January rescinded Obama-era guidance that had protected most state-legal marijuana activity from federal prosecution. Gardner then relented in April when Trump promised him he would support legislation to allow states to proceed with marijuana legalization.
The measure would also allow banks to work more freely with marijuana-related businesses, would set the legal age for marijuana purchases at 21, and would put in place other public safety “guardrails,” such as banning sales at truck stops and other transportation facilities. It would also legalize industrial hemp, which is used in clothing, building materials, and other products.
Also Friday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and governors of 11 other states cosigned a letter to congressional leaders asking them to support the Warren-Gardner legislation.
“Our states have acted with deliberation and care to implement programs through thoughtful and comprehensive legislation and regulations. Our citizens have spoken, we are responding. We ask that Congress recognize and respect our states’ efforts by supporting and passing the” proposal, the governors said.Dan Adams of the Globe staff contributed to this report.