Cory Gardner fails to get marijuana reform into criminal justice bill | VailDaily.com | VailDaily.com

Sen. Cory Gardner fails to get marijuana reform into criminal justice bill

By ANNA STAVER | astaver@denverpost.com

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner

The federal government won't be easing its laws on marijuana as part of a criminal justice reform bill that's expected to pass this week.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, had hoped to attach an amendment to the proposed First Step Act to remove the threat of federal prosecution in states where cannabis is legal and lift restrictions on federally insured banks, which are currently barred from working with marijuana businesses. But Gardner and other senators hoping to offer amendments of their own were blocked by a procedural maneuver from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has made criminal justice reform a priority during the lame-duck session.

Gardner then sought unanimous consent for his amendment and was blocked by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who called the idea a "back door to legalization."

"We're the opposite of feeling defeated. We're feeling energized," Cannabis Trade Federation CEO Neal Levine said shortly after the amendment failed. "We just had a U.S. senator, who is in a leadership position in his party, say on the floor of Congress that he's not going to give up this fight."

Gardner's amendment mirrors a bill he introduced with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, in June. Gardner said he plans to reintroduce that bill during the next Congress.

Read the full story via The Denver Post.