Washington, D.C — Per the president’s request, Jeff Sessions resigned as Attorney General today. The strained relationship between Sessions and the president was well publicized, and since the president has forced out many Cabinet members in the past, the decision does not come as a huge shock.
Jeff Sessions Was Strongly Against Marijuana
Sessions made headlines in the past with his insatiable need to rid the United States of marijuana. Earlier this year, he supported getting rid of the 2013 policy that kept states with legal marijuana safe from federal authorities. He’s also well known for the claims he makes about marijuana. In March 2017, he claimed that marijuana was “only slightly less awful” than heroin.
While some might assume Sessions’ resignation is related to the midterm results in which Michigan legalized recreational marijuana, and Utah and Missouri legalized medical marijuana, it’s likely that it has more to do with the seemingly never-ending, always-complicated investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
The Temporary Replacement
Matthew Whitaker, Sessions’ former Chief of Staff, was named the temporary replacement for Attorney General today. He’s a former U.S Attorney in Iowa, and he ran as a Republican for a Senate seat in 2014. Whitaker has been praised by the president in the past, and it seems that their views align on a lot of topics. Whitaker has criticized Mueller publicly, and wrote an article stating Hillary Clinton should be indicted.
What This Means for Marijuana
Given that marijuana supporters still seem to align with liberal ideology, and Whitaker is a strong supporter of the GOP, it’s unlikely that he’ll be enthusiastic about marijuana legalization of any kind. He hasn’t made passionate anti-marijuana comments like Jeff Sessions has, but he hasn’t given any hints that he’s going to be lenient on the issue. At a 2014 Iowa Senate Debate, Whitaker seemed to acknowledge that medical marijuana can help some families, but he didn’t take a clear stand on whether or not it should be legalized.
During Obama’s presidency, Attorney General Eric Holder and Attorney General Loretta Lynch weren’t pursuing states about their marijuana laws being in opposition to federal laws. It’s possible that Whitaker, or whoever the permanent replacement is, will take a different approach.