National Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith issued the following statement in response to Senator Jeff Sessions’ confirmation as new U.S. Attorney General:
“We look forward to Attorney General Sessions maintaining the current federal policy of respect for legal, regulated cannabis programs in the states, and we will work with him to do that. That policy, as outlined by the Cole Memo, has allowed carefully designed state regulatory programs approved by voters and lawmakers to move forward, while maintaining the Justice Department’s commitment to pursuing criminals and prosecuting bad actors.
“A change in policy will lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in marijuana sales shifting from state-regulated businesses back to the criminal, underground market.
“State-legal cannabis businesses generate billions of dollars in economic activity and support tens of thousands of good-paying jobs. The projected value of the legal cannabis industry in the U.S. for 2016 is $6.7 billion, and that market value is expected to grow to $21.8 billion by 2020. President Trump has promised Americans a thriving economy, and these businesses play a key role in 28 states.
“The many small businesses of the cannabis industry contribute not only to the economy, but also to the quality of life of our citizens, by helping countless critically ill patients, veterans managing PTSD, and parents combating a child’s epilepsy. Those small business owners are building a community dedicated to responsibility, professionalism, and engagement.”