The White House is planning to tackle federal cannabis reform after the midterm elections, says Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).
Rohrabacher told Fox Business last week that Trump has made a “solid commitment” to regulating marijuana. “I have been talking to people inside the White House who know and inside the president’s entourage … I have talked to them at length. I have been reassured that the president intends on keeping his campaign promise.”
During the 2016 campaign, Trump said that medical marijuana should be legalized at the federal level but that recreational pot use should be left up to individual states.
In June, Trump said he would support a bill sponsored by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to leave that decision to the states. It was a major break with his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, a strict opponent of marijuana who had freed federal prosecutors to enforce federal laws against pot in states that have decriminalized it.
“I would expect after the election we will sit down and we’ll start hammering out something that is specific and real,” said Rohrabacher.
Recreational marijuana use was legalized in California earlier this year.
A 30-year incumbent in various Orange County districts, Rohrabacher is in a tight race with Democratic challenger Harley Rouda. A recent average of polls show have both candidates at 48 percent.
Rohrabacher was previously in the news for his relationship with Russian officials, unusually close for a U.S. Congressman. He admitted that in 2015, he met with Maria Butina, a Russian national who is awaiting charges that attempted to illegally influence American officials; Rohrabacher called the charges “bogus.” He also praised Trump’s performance in a Helsinki press conference with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, in which Trump seemed to stand with Putin and against his U.S. intelligence agencies on the subject of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Last year, Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader, was caught on tape saying, “There are two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump.”