- The Washington Times - Friday, November 18, 2016

Bummer.

President-elect Donald Trump’s choice of conservative Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions is proving to be something of a buzzkill to the nation’s marijuana entrepreneurs, who fear his record opposing legalized pot could mean an abrupt halt to the industry’s recent success under President Obama.

Mr. Sessions “is the worst pick that Trump could have made for attorney general as it comes to marijuana issues,” said Aaron Herzberg, partner and general counsel at CalCann Holdings, a California-based company that runs pot dispensaries and negotiates real estate deals for marijuana growers.

“It appears that he is intent on rolling back policy to the 1980s’ Nancy Reagan’s ‘Just say no on drugs’ days,” Mr. Herzberg added. “…With the selection of Sessions as attorney general, the legalization both for medical marijuana in 28 states and recreational marijuana in eight states may be in serious jeopardy.”

Some in the industry are hoping they have achieved enough economic clout, voter support and geographic diversity that Mr. Sessions and the Trump administration will find it too hard to reverse course.

Acknowledging that Mr. Sessions has “been an opponent of the cannabis industry in the past,” Jeff Zucker, president of Denver-based Green Lion Partners, a consulting firm that works with marijuana-related businesses, said Friday he hoped that might change.

“Should the Senate confirm his position, we’re hopeful that the industry’s advancement … will lead to his being open-minded as to the incredible benefits cannabis is already having on the country and could eventually have on the federal level,” Mr. Zucker said.

Mr. Trump’s choice comes just over a week after legalized marijuana advocates celebrated one of the best days ever at the polls. Voters in California, Massachusetts and Nevada all approved measures legalizing recreational marijuana use and medical marijuana statutes also passed in a number of other states.

The pot industry is braced for a battle if the next attorney general wants one, Mr. Zucker added.

“Should [Mr. Sessions] ignore the clear will of U.S. citizens, the industry is prepared to fight for patients’ and citizens’ rights to this incredible plant that has improved so many lives.”

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