According to the Associated Press, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has submitted a letter of resignation to the president.
The letter makes it apparent that President Trump had requested his resignation.
"I have been honored to serve as Attorney General and have worked to implement the law enforcement agenda based on the rule of law that formed a central part of your campaign for the Presidency," he wrote in this letter. Read the full letter below.
Sessions' time at the helm of the U.S. Department of Justice was marked most visibly to the cannabis industry by his repeal of the Cole Memo, which had previously guided states' marijuana regulations. Repeatedly, Sessions invoked the department's mission to uphold the "rule of law" on behalf of the federal government.
"Attorney General Jeff sessions has been an impediment to the growth of the regulated cannabis industry," Derek Peterson, CEO of Terra Tech, told Cannabis Business Times. "We believe we are at a tipping point nationally in terms of voter sentiment as well as support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. With Pete Sessions being voted out and Jeff Sessions resigning, the corridor is now open to accelerate a states rights approach to regulating the cannabis industry."
Trump tweeted: "We are pleased to announce that Matthew G. Whitaker, Chief of Staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice, will become our new Acting Attorney General of the United States. He will serve our Country well ... We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date."
Not much is known currently about Whitaker's stance toward cannabis reform or states' rights to legalize and regulate cannabis markets.
Whitaker served as U.S. Attorney General for the Southern District of Iowa from 2004 to 2009 under the George W. Bush administration, submitting his resignation to President Barack Obama shortly after he took office. In his resignation letter, shared by lawandcrime.com, Whitaker said he that as a U.S. Attorney, he was "firmly committed to protecting our citizens from terrorist attacks, reducing gang and gun violence, protecting our children from predators, reducing the availability of meth, cocaine, and marijuana in our communities, and protecting the taxpayers through our civil division."
Since Oct. 2017, Whitaker served as the chief of staff and senior counselor to Sessions, Newsweek reported.
"We believe its increasingly likely Congress could take action to regulate and tax cannabis at the federal level," said Isaac Dietrich, CEO of MassRoots. "We expect the perceived risks related to the cannabis industry to continue to dissipate, which could lead to a shift of institutional capital and interest from Canadian licensed producers to companies focused on the regulated United States market."
"The resignation of Jeff Sessions marks another key turning point for the cannabis industry, removing a key obstructionist to cannabis reform from the Justice Department," added Frank Lane, president of CFN Media. "Many cannabis stocks have already surged following the news in hopes that the resignation will usher in a change to federal cannabis policy, including passage of the STATES Act. We are cautiously optimistic ahead of the appointment of a new Attorney General."