On Wednesday, one day after the nation hit the polls, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions acquiesced to President Trump’s request and turned in his resignation.
This potential change from conservative detractor to a candidate more favourable of marijuana legislation reform caused marijuana stocks to rally from current low levels.
Sessions was a conservative and vocal about his feelings against marijuana, noting that good people did not smoke marijuana – his exact words. Meanwhile, he showed his stance as well during his time in office, revoking the Cole memo that prevented Justice Department interference in state marijuana programs. Sessions also faced off with President Trump on other issues, which ultimately led to the resignation.
While the move has been expected in political circles for some time, due to more than a year of vocal opposition to Sessions’ actions and issues related to his work from President Trump, the actual resignation gave stocks a boost.
However, the announcement of Matthew Whitaker, Sessions’ Chief of Staff, as interim Attorney General has sent stocks plummeting again by the close of the market Thursday. The unknown quantity that is Whitaker’s take on marijuana legislation and other potentially related calls directly influenced the sudden fall to levels comparable to what the stocks have shown over the last month.
One potential candidate for the position is former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is much like Sessions in a history of vocal dissent against marijuana legislation. Christie was considered a front-runner before Sessions took the post. His support of President Trump indicates his potential to take the job, leaving marijuana advocates concerned that the issue will be a trade-off for adhering to President Trump’s hopes for the Russia investigation.
Marijuana stocks will most likely remain low as talks of this potential replacement wash through the media channels. News of an alternative replacement may influence future stock price changes, dependent on the name of the contender for the US Attorney General slot.
Tuesday’s vote was a mark of success for marijuana legalization, as two states legalized medicinal use of the drug and one was added to the list of states with legislature permitting recreational use.