Trump’s pick of Jeff Sessions for attorney general alarms cannabis industry officials
Marijuana industry officials reacted with alarm Friday to President-elect Donald Trump’s choice of Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general, citing the Alabama lawmaker’s hostile attitude toward cannabis and MJ legalization.
Industry leaders attending this week’s Marijuana Business Conference & Expo in Las Vegas voiced concern that Sessions would lead a new crackdown on marijuana business in states that have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana.
Industry officials also suggested Sessions would present a roadblock to additional marijuana reforms in such areas as banking, where cannabis companies struggle to find a financial institution to serve them given the plant’s federal status as an illegal narcotic.
Last week’s national elections saw eight states approve new markets for legal recreational and medical cannabis, and Trump’s nomination of Sessions raises questions about the legalization efforts of more states down the road. Twenty-nine states and Washington DC have legalized medical marijuana, while eight states and the District of Columbia have approved adult use.
“Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions is the worst pick that Trump could have made for attorney general as it comes to the marijuana issues, and this selection bodes very poorly for the Trump administration to adopt a marijuana friendly policy,” said Aaron Herzberg, the general counsel at CalCann Holdings, a marijuana-focused focused real estate firm in California. “He has been extremely hostile to efforts to legalize both medical and adult-use marijuana.”
Troy Dayton, CEO of Oakland, California-based Arcview Group, said, “It’s pretty clear that his record is anti-cannabis.”
Sessions has been quoted as saying:
- He thought the Ku Klux Klan was fine “until I found out they smoked pot.” Sessions dismissed the comment as a joke, The New York Times reported.
- “We needs grown-ups in charge in Washington to say that marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it’s in fact a very real danger.”
- “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”