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MarketWatch reports Jeff Sessions has delivered a blow to the marijuana industry’s ability to raise capital.

Thursday’s move by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his Justice Department to rescind an Obama-era policy used as a protection for states that have legalized marijuana could be a major blow.

“This should not come as a surprise,” said Rafael Lemaitre, former associate director for public affairs for the Drug Policy Office under President Obama.

“We don’t know how this might play out legally,” he said. “But this will create a significant chilling effect on investors who had hoped to cash in on a new ‘green rush.’ Before Trump, you would have to just be risk [tolerant] to put money behind the marijuana industry; now you’d have to be downright crazy. Despite public polling showing its popularity, the cards are stacked against a successful long-term business model here.”

Battle of Public Opinion is Over

What a hoot.

“It just shows how out of touch Sessions is,” said Morgan Fox, the director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. “He’s out of step with his own advisers, he’s out of step with the president—who has said it’s a states' rights issue—and he’s out of step with the American people.

Bingo.

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Some even think Sessions will speed up the legalization process.

What Republicans Say

Four Republican Senators Blasted Sessions.

  • Lisa Murkowski, Alaska: “Over the past year I repeatedly discouraged Attorney General Sessions from taking this action and asked that he work with the states and Congress if he feels changes are necessary. Today's announcement is disruptive to state regulatory regimes and regrettable.”
  • Cory Gardner, Colorado: “This reported action directly contradicts what Attorney General Sessions told me prior to his confirmation. With no prior notice to Congress, the Justice Department has trampled on the will of the voters in CO and other states. I am prepared to take all steps necessary, including holding DOJ nominees, until the Attorney General lives up to the commitment he made to me prior to his confirmation.”
  • Dean Heller, Nevada: “Knowing Attorney General Sessions' deference to states' rights, I strongly encourage the DOJ to meet with Governor Sandoval and Attorney General Laxalt to discuss the implications of changes to federal marijuana enforcement policy. I also urge the DOJ to work with the congressional delegations from states like Nevada that have legalized marijuana as they review and navigate the new policy.”
  • Rand Paul, Kentucky: “I continue to believe that this is a states’ rights issue, and the federal government has better things to focus on.”

There is strong bipartisan support in Congress to legalize marijuana. Sessions did not deliver a blow to anything other than to his own head. If anything, his Neanderthal statement will speed up the legalization.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock