Whether you want to call it a resignation or a firing, the outcome is the same: Jeff Sessions is no longer the attorney general of the United States. And, with him, many expect, the federal government’s strong opposition to cannabis legalization could depart as well.
Benzinga reached out to iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc ITHUF, CanopyVentures and Arcadian Fund for the cannabis industry perspective on the AG's exit.
A Positive For The Industry
For iAnthus Capital CEO Hadley Ford, having a top cop with a more "constructive" view on cannabis would be positive for the industry. But Ford never truly believed Sessions' actions had a substantial effect on the sector.
Having said that, Sessions' mindset “cast a cloud of doubt and uncertainty over the space, which caused volatility and higher costs," Ford said.
“If there’s less doubt, we should see lower costs for capital and other inputs to the industry — the ubiquitous ‘green tax’ — and people will feel more comfortable entering the industry."
CanopyVentures Managing Director Micah Tapman said Sessions resignation is a landmark development in cannabis.
“Sessions’ resignation represents a sea change for the legal cannabis industry,” he told Benzinga. “Mr. Sessions was a radical attorney general who tried to revoke state’s rights in order to promote a moral viewpoint out of step with the majority of Americans."
The U.S. needs an AG who respects the rule of law and states' rights, Tapman said.
"Hopefully we go one better and President Trump nominates someone in step with the majority of the country, which strongly supports legalization.”
Jeff Siegel, managing editor of Green Chip Stocks and cannabis stock analyst for Benzinga, sounded a cautious note about Sessions’ successor.
“There's a lot of enthusiasm over the resignation of Jeff Sessions, but that enthusiasm could be extinguished pretty quickly if his replacement ends up being another prohibitionist. Chris Christie could be in line for the job; Christie is also an outspoken prohibitionist," Siegel said.
It's too early to gauge the impact of the leadership change, he said.
"Investors should avoid making any big moves until there's more evidence that Sessions' replacement will be less hostile to the cannabis industry.”
A Change Is Coming
Arcadian Fund CEO Matthew Nordgren said he and his team expect change, and not because of cannabis.
“There were many other issues that the Trump administration and Jeff Sessions were dealing with,” he told Benzinga.
“The most likely time for this to happen was post-midterms. Even if Sessions stayed in his role, his ability to get things done would have been compromised as compared to what it was before hand with full controls across the board."
No matter who replaces Session, it will be an improvement, Nordgren said.
"Markets have reacted positively, quickly, but we still need to see how things unfold to know more accurately.”
Public domain photo via Wikimedia.
© 2022 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
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