AG Jeff Sessions Was (Basically) Fired: The Cannabis Industry Reacts
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Following the 2018 midterm election, President Donald Trump asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign -- which actually meant firing him, albeit politely.
Sessions, a well-known, long-standing opponent of marijuana legalization, was understandably disliked by cannabis industry participants and weed enthusiasts alike. So, the news of his departure was received with much joy among the cannabis community.
“As Jeff Sessions was devoutly committed to some old-fashioned views on cannabis, it's no revelation to say that this is great news for the industry. I'm just surprised he didn't try to outlaw dancing while he was in office. I think we got off easy,” said Peter Vogel, CEO of Leafwire and Green Entrepreneur guest writer.
Interested in hearing what we, the weed people, had to say, Green Entrepreneur reached out to a few experts and asked for some insights.
Time to grow
For Derek Peterson, CEO and chairman of Terra Tech, “Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been an impediment to the growth of the regulated cannabis industry.
“Cannabis legalization is gaining momentum on both sides of the aisle and it's becoming not only a national conversation point but more importantly a political platform. With ( Republican Congressman) Pete Sessions being voted out and Jeff Sessions resigning the corridor is now open to accelerate a states-rights approach to regulating the cannabis industry.”
In agreement, Isaac Dietrich, CEO of Massroots, said, “We believe Sessions' resignation further reduces the risks involving the cannabis industry and could lead to a renewed interest in cannabis stocks focused on the United States market.”
So, what’s next?
In the opinion of Jordan Friedman, CEO of Zodaka, the impact of Jeff Sessions’ “resignation” on the cannabis industry remains to be seen. However, he added, “It is safe to assume that it won't hurt. Considering this is the man who rescinded the Cole memo (and dropped the infamous ‘good people don't smoke marijuana’), I think he should be as far away from federal cannabis policy as possible.
“The market certainly agrees that this is positive, as the price of Tilray, a prominent marijuana stock, has shot up 30 percent since the news of his resignation was announced. Not having Sessions stymie the progression of the cannabis movement is definitely a positive, but I think the overall federal policy outlook hasn't changed that much with his departure. There is, however, one less specter in the mix.”
Barry Grissom, senior vice president of Electrum Partners argues this was inevitable. “My concern now is his replacement, Matthew Whitaker,” he added. “Mr. Whittaker, the acting attorney general, was a US Attorney in Iowa from 2004-2009. Prior to his coming to the Trump Administration, he wrote an editorial for CNN where he referred to parts of the Mueller investigation as a ‘mere witch hunt.’ This can not bode well for the investigation.”
By means of conclusion, Lex Pelger, head of education and outreach at Bluebird Botanicals urged “The nation's leaders to take this opportunity to further turn towards a sensible policy on drugs. The War on Drugs must end. Cannabis must be treated as another important plant for human health and happiness.
“The ability of citizens to alter their own consciousness must be protected. We hope that the new Attorney General will be a friend of the people of this nation.”