Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a stark warning on Wednesday to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, urging it not to approve a draft criminal sentencing reform bill that Sessions claimed would reduce sentences for "a highly risky cohort of criminals". It's just getting to be frustrating, I've gotta tell you. That includes a new head of our Criminal Division, our Civil Rights Division, and our National Security Division. Cory Gardner, a Republican who has prevented the attorney general's Justice Department nominees from being confirmed as part of a protest over Sessions' decision to revoke an Obama-era policy that encouraged federal prosecutors to respect state laws on marijuana.
Since becoming attorney general a little more than a year ago, Sessions has made combating violent crime, illegal immigration and drug offenses his priority.
Senator Gardener, who voted to confirm Mr. Sessions previous year based on a promise that marijuana enforcement would not be a priority, says he feels duped over the reversal of a Hussein Obama-era memo that has allowed states to experiment with marijuana legalization.
Gardner's office has since responded to Sessions' comments. "Sen. Gardner is also working with a bipartisan group of senators from across the political spectrum and they continue to look at ways Congress can take action to preserve states' rights". In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to legalize adult recreational cannabis usage. "And that's why I will be putting today a hold on every single nomination from the Department of Justice".
The Iowa senator said on Twitter Wednesday that he was "incensed" by Sessions' letter, saying it was not the proper role of the attorney general.
"The people of Colorado deserve answers", Gardner added. Gardner is now holding up 11 Justice Department nominations and counting.
The Justice Department is now barred from prosecuting marijuana cases in states that have rolled back prohibition, but only for medicinal purposes.