Federal marijuana discussions heating up post-AG Sessions

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Legislators on Capitol Hill begin push for marijuana regulations

The entire marijuana community released a collective hooray when it was announced that former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was retiring. The man who had fought against marijuana for his entire career and who once said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana” singlehandedly prevented marijuana from not only being legalized, but from being studied, which only hindered the possibility of legislation – for or against – from reaching the floor. Now that he is gone, progress is finally being made.

A lot of good has come out of the lawmaker’s departure. Soon after packing his bags, Tilray’s stock rose 31% and both Canopy and Cronos saw their stocks improve by more than 8%. This shows the general attitude of marijuana in the country as being favorable and, as Medical Marijuana Inc. CEO Stuart Titus points out, “Sessions’ stance on cannabis had been a major impediment toward cannabis reform, and now industry participants hold new hopes for sweeping change at the federal level.”

Sessions once said that marijuana was a “very real danger.” How he drew that misguided conclusion is anyone’s guess, but he never stopped threatening states that had legalized marijuana. He sent them a letter stating, “The Department remains committed to enforcing the Controlled Substance Act in a manner that efficiently applies our resources to address the most significant threats to public health and safety.”

Several lawmakers on Capitol Hill are now forging ahead with plans to introduce bills that will pave the way for legalized marijuana use, at least at the medical level. While Congress has previously blocked attempts, when the Democrats take control of the House next January, things could change. As Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon aptly puts it, “Time and time again, [Sessions] attempted to impose his own views on reforming our outdated marijuana laws, which did not match the majority of the American people. It’s time to finally end the federal government’s policy of prohibition.”