WASHINGTON, D.C.- U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions has stepped down from his position at the Justice Department. “At your request, I am submitting my resignation,” Sessions wrote in a letter to President Trump.
Trump tweeted about Sessions earlier today, writing, “We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well!”
The embattled Sessions has faced public scrutiny from the president ever since the former attorney general recused himself from the Russia investigation. Matthew G. Whitaker, Sessions’ chief of staff, will take over as acting attorney general and will oversee the Russia investigation.
Sessions has been an opponent of activists and members of the cannabis industry for years. Last year, he linked cannabis use to violence and seemed confused about the science regarding the plant. Not surprisingly, many members of the cannabis industry were not exactly shedding a tear for his departure.
“Attorney General Sessions was one of the last remaining prohibitionists in Washington,” David Mangone, attorney, and Director of Government Affairs
Americans for Safe Access, a national group that advocates for cannabis research and the rights of patients, told mg. With “Sessions’ departure, we are closer than ever to changing outdated and misinformed federal policy when it comes to cannabis, particularly when it comes to recognizing the medical uses of the plant for a number of debilitating conditions,” Mangone continued.
NCIA, a national trade association for the cannabis industry, also welcomed the news.
“The departure of Jeff Sessions is welcome news to anyone who cares about justice, reason, and the sanctity of state cannabis programs and the legal industry,” Morgan Fox, NCIA Media Relations Director told mg. “Hopefully the days of reefer madness are over at the Justice Department.”
Cannabis producers may have had even more to fear from Sessions.
“As AG, he threatened to execute drug dealers across the country, putting cannabis business owners under that same umbrella. We need to be treated like normal businesses instead of criminals,” Dan Anglin, CEO of CannAmerican Brands, a producer of cannabis products, said in an emailed statement about Sessions.
Though many members of the cannabis industry are excited, it remains to be seen how Whitaker and the Trump administration will handle the cannabis industry. During a PBS debate in 2014 for a U.S. Senate seat in Iowa, Whitaker offered his view on Iowa’s passage of a CBD only medicinal cannabis bill.
“First of all, I know a couple of families that are going to be positively impacted by what has happened in the state Senate today,” Whitaker said of the CBD bill’s passage. “And I applaud them for helping those families who need that help.”
However, he did not endorse full legalization and criticized the Obama administration’s handling of cannabis laws.