Regular visitors to the Daily Leaf might recall that in our post-election roundup, we wondered whether rumors of a Rudy Giuliani stint as Attorney General might impact the relationship between the federal government and ‘green states’ where recreational marijuana use is legal. Trump’s marijuana policy is unclear. And although we feared Giuliani’s law-and-order credentials, it seems that the reality may be far more frightening.
Most major outlets are now reporting that President Elect Donald Trump will nominate Senator Jeff Sessions to the Attorney General post. For those who operate in the green economy, this may be chilling news. Senator Sessions may well be one of the most anti-marijuana members of the United States Senate, at times even managing to entangle racism with his anti-weed vendetta in a bizarre cocktail of conservative buzzkill.
Although all indications have been that Donald Trump isn’t particularly engaged in marijuana policy one way or another, this could potentially lead to Senator Sessions enjoying broad leeway in his enforcement decisions. If that’s the case, the implications for marijuana related industries in Oregon and across the nation are unclear.
The one sliver of hope for the industry is that Senator Sessions has generally viewed himself as a proponent of states’ rights. This may or may not apply to his position on legal recreational marijuana, however. The Cannabist recently quoted John Hudak, of the Brookings Institution, saying that “[h]e is, frankly, a very extreme Republican who enjoys states’ rights only when they work for the policy he wants them to work for.”
That said, with over 20% of Americans now living in states where recreational marijuana consumption is legal and a majority of Americans supporting expansion, a concerted anti-cannabis push may well stall in the face of widespread public opposition. For now, expect some industry uncertainty until we’re able to see how this nomination shakes out.