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Gubernatorial Hopefuls Oppose Sessions Marijuana Crack-Down

Republicans joined Democrats in criticizing the decision.

Zach C. Cohen
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Zach C. Cohen
Jan. 5, 2018, 11:21 a.m.

DGA Chair Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and at “least 15 Democratic gubernatorial candidates and current governors blasted” Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s decision to “open the door to a federal crackdown on states that have decriminalized forms of marijuana use.”

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and former Colorado Treasurer Cary Kennedy (D) “delivered stinging rebukes of Sessions’ decision. Polis slammed Sessions for ‘waging war on local marijuana;’ Kennedy called it an ‘attack’ on Colorado voters. By contrast, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman (R) … reaffirmed her commitment to defending the Colorado law but declined to criticize Sessions’ decision. Coffman noted that it would still be up to federal prosecutors’ discretion and consequently admonished residents to ‘not freak out.’”

In Nevada, Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak (D) “denounced the move as well, declaring, ‘We cannot and will not stand for this or any threat by the Trump administration to undo progress in Nevada.’” State Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R) “merely offered a statement highlighting his past willingness to defend the state’s marijuana law against legal challenges despite his opposition to the ballot measure that legalize it.”

Former Detroit Health Director Abdul El-Sayed (D) “in Michigan, where legalization is likely to be on the ballot in November, vowed in a statement that, if elected, he’d ‘fight [the crackdown] tooth and nail.’ Later in the day, former Michigan Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer … tweeted that Sessions’ ‘move takes us backward in our fight to level the playing field.’” (HuffPost)

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) “said Thursday that he opposes a decision by … Sessions to rescind a memo that effectively allows states to legalize marijuana.” (MassLive)

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I): “I remain committed to upholding the will of Alaska voters on this issue, and maintaining our State’s right to manage our own affairs.” (Twitter)

Oregon state Rep. Knute Buehler (R): “The federal government should respect the will of Oregon voters; the principle of federalism is at stake. As Governor, I will defend Oregon interests and honor voter intent.” (Twitter)

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D): “Jeff Sessions and the Trump Administration destructively doubled down on the failed, costly and racially discriminatory policy of marijuana criminalization, trampling on the will of California voters and a year-long bipartisan implementation process led by Governor Brown and the California Legislature.” (release)

Chicago venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker (D): “As governor, I will stand up to Donald Trump’s attacks on Illinois communities, legalize marijuana, and modernize sentencing guidelines to create a criminal justice system that gives all Illinoisans a chance to reach their full potential.” (release)

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