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California Lawmakers Pressure Sens. Harris And Feinstein On Marijuana

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A group of ten U.S. House members from California are calling on the state’s two senators to do more to push back on the Trump administration’s decision to rescind protections for state marijuana laws.

“As you know, in November 2016, the people of California spoke up and voted in favor of Proposition 64, which legalized recreational cannabis… The recent action by the Attorney General put the industry in jeopardy,” the bipartisan group of ten members of Congress wrote to U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein, both Democrats.

“To increase pressure, we are calling on you to block nominations to the Justice Department until the Attorney General reinstates the Cole Memo,” the House lawmakers said.

While Feinstein has long been one of Congress’ most ardent opponents of marijuana legalization, Harris has in recent weeks repeatedly criticized the move by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to tear up Obama-era guidance that has generally allowed states to implement their own marijuana laws without federal interference.

But despite tweeting a lot about marijuana and starting an online petition on the issue through which her campaign apparatus is able to collect e-mail addresses, Harris hasn’t yet added her name as a cosponsor of a single one of the various cannabis reform bills her Senate colleagues have introduced.

Now, the House members, led by Reps. Lou Correa (D) and Dana Rohrabacher (R), are asking her and Feinstein to prevent Sessions from being able to confirm new U.S. attorneys or other Justice Department nominees until he reverses the anti-marijuana move.

“The legalization of cannabis will spur economic growth and provide sales tax revenues,” they write.

Within hours of Sessions’s announcement of rescinding the marijuana protections, Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado vowed to place a hold on all Justice Department nominations over the issue.

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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