When the notoriously anti-marijuana Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced by President Trump to resign in Nov., the marijuana industry and its supporters were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. Since Sessions’ departure, the movement to legalize marijuana and reform laws has been rejuvenated, and marijuana-related investments are being revitalized.
It wasn’t a secret that Sessions “had it out for states that have legalized marijuana,” Colorado governor-elect Jared Polis mentioned to The LA Times.
“In an ideal situation, the next attorney general would recognize the rights of states, like Colorado, to responsibly legalize and regulate marijuana and not interfere or even threaten to interfere,” said Polis.
Interim U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker’s intended actions regarding marijuana remain unknown, but he did appear sympathetic to medical marijuana users during his 2014 Iowa Senate run. He also appears loyal to Trump, who has said marijuana is a state’s rights issue.
Mason Tvert of the MPP said, “[Sessions’] rhetoric and some of his symbolic actions had significant financial consequences for the state-legal cannabis industry. Businesses were not shut down and operators were not arrested, but investments got pulled and deals went south, creating significant headaches.”
Nationwide support for marijuana legalization has grown annually. The most recent Pew Research Center survey indicated that 62% of Americans now support legalization. This is double the support from 2000, where legalization only had the support of 31% of voters.