Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned today at the request of President Donald Trump. “At your request, I am submitting my resignation,” wrote Sessions in an undated letter to the president sources told ABC News. Sessions chief of staff Matthew Whitaker has been named Acting Attorney General.
Cannabis stocks jumped on the news as Sessions has been a thorn in the side of the cannabis industry. He immediately rescinded the Cole Memorandum causing cannabis stocks to plunge. However, Sessions seemed to be more bark than bite and the Justice Department did little in the way of taking real action against the industry. The stocks have recovered throughout the year. His departure sent the North American Index higher by 15 points.
Now the guessing game will begin as to who will replace him. Names that are being bounced around include former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, failed Kansas gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach and others like Scott Walker. Giuliani had initially been expected to be the AG, but it was rumored that he wanted the Chief of Staff role instead, but then he didn’t receive that title and by then Sessions had taken over as AG.
Last week, former White House spokesman Anthony Scarramuci suggested that President Trump could legalize cannabis following the mid-term elections. This would presumably endear the cannabis industry to President Trump and gain his favor.
“This is the sign that the tide is turning on a federal level and that the holy grail of rescheduling is not far behind,” said Dennis O’Malley, the CEO of Caliva. “Once this happens the economy of cannabis will be part of the American economic fabric. Banking will finally be available to cannabis businesses. Research and medicine can become available to those who need it. ”
The move from Sessions also comes as various pieces of cannabis legislature in numerous states were passed during the midterm elections. Michigan became the tenth state to legalize adult use cannabis, while Utah and Missouri legalized medical cannabis.
“Sessions’ resignation builds momentum toward legalization after yesterday’s successes on the ballots,” said Ryan Smith CEO of LeafLink. “We’re seeing the openness to cannabis that started on the west coast sweeping the country and being increasingly reflected by the people in office.”
“Cannabis legalization wins from yesterday’s election and Sessions’ resignation today are signals of opportunity for the industry,” said Kyle Sherman. CEO of Flowhub. “We could not be better positioned to pass the STATES Act into law during the next Congress.”