WASHINGTON — The Trump administration finally crossed the line for some members of Congress this week, provoking bipartisan umbrage and accompanying pledges to hold top officials accountable.
Many thought the day had been far too long in coming. Few thought the galvanizing issue would be weed.
Both Republicans and Democrats reacted with dismay and howls of betrayal to the decision by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to renew tough federal enforcement of marijuana laws, illustrating the growing power both politically and economically of the emerging industry.
“I am obligated to the people of Colorado to take all steps necessary to protect the state of Colorado and their rights,” said Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, a conservative member of the Republican leadership who has rarely broken with the Trump White House.
Mr. Gardner said he had been assured by both President Trump and Mr. Sessions before voting for the attorney general’s confirmation that backtracking on marijuana would not be a focus of the administration. The senator seemed flabbergasted by what amounted to a federal assault on the expanding $1 billion legal pot business approved by voters in Colorado, and he threatened to try to block all Justice Department nominees until Mr. Sessions backed off.