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Cannabis Industry’s Cautious Optimism Towards New Attorney General

The US Senate has confirmed Donald Trump’s choice, William Barr, as the new Attorney General. Barr says cannabis entrepreneurs should have less to worry about now than before under the former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. At the end of the Obama administration, the cannabis industry was expanding, and the development of the legalization of medical marijuana was well on its way. Recreational cannabis was legalized in several states and public opinion about it shifted. The federal prosecution was no longer a threat to the cannabis industry with the Justice Department releasing the Cole Memorandum, which states that under the state law legally operating marijuana businesses would not be federally prosecuted. Many believe that the role of Attorney General is important to the cannabis industry as they can cause a huge impact. When former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was confirmed in 2017, he was adamant that he opposed the loosening restrictions of marijuana. Sessions was vocal about his opposition despite President Trump’s approval of medical marijuana during his campaign. And Sessions rescinded the Cole Memorandum, causing uncertainty in the cannabis industry. With the new Attorney General, the industry still hopes for improvement. Even though Barr doesn’t plan on legalizing cannabis at the federal level, the states should capitalize on it. Greg James, the publisher of Marijuana Venture, a business magazine, revealed that the industry still has to wait and see. The reason for this is that Barr reports to Trump and Trump will do anything that will earn the approval of his base. James sees nothing concrete for legal marijuana, for now. The chief executive of MJ Freeway, Jessica Billingsley had spoken about her plans to pay close attention to Barr’s actions as part of her task as a CEO in the cannabis industry and a board member of National Cannabis Industry Association. If Barr kept his word, it would bring cautious optimism to the cannabis industry, as the chief executive of AdLoop, a cannabis advertising firm, Josh Segal says. He wants to emphasize that the Attorney General has stated during his confirmation hearing that he has no intention to use federal resources in the reinforcement of the federal marijuana laws to the states that have legalized them. For 2018 alone, the total of medical cannabis sales was estimated between $3.25 billion and $5.77 billion in the United States. This is according to Matt Karnes, a cannabis industry analyst and founder of the GreenWave Advisors.

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