This week, Jeff Sessions resigned from his post as the U.S. Attorney General at the request of President Trump. Stock prices for a variety of marijuana companies shot up, some by as much as 30% (NASDAQ: TLRY). We can’t know how much of this spike was due to the Sessions announcement or the favorable run Marijuana ballot initiatives had in the state elections.
But we do know that Jeff Sessions authored the Memorandum to all U.S. Attorney Generals on Marijuana Enforcement dated January 4, 2018. This memo rescinded previous (Obama era) Department of Justice guidance which directed prosecutors to focus on illegal marijuana manufacturing and trafficking. This was never a “shield” for those operating in states with marijuana laws that differed from the federal, although it was certainly a nod to the rights of the states on the issue.
But Sessions changed course; with his memo in January of 2018, federal prosecutors were directed to “weigh all relevant considerations, including law enforcement priorities set by the Attorney General, the seriousness of the crime, the deterrent effect of criminal prosecution, and the cumulative impact of particular crimes on the community.”
No one can say for certain what we can expect from Sessions ultimate successor. However, the President’s upmost criteria is more likely to be based on how a nominee views the Mueller investigation than the marijuana industry.