President Trump has hinted at replacing prohibitionist Attorney Jeff Sessions with EPA head Scott Pruitt. But could Pruitt’s confirmation actually make the legal climate around the marijuana industry even more hostile for the nation’s growers, retailers, and users?
As Marijuana Moment reports, President Trump’s desire to remove Sessions has to do with the attorney general’s decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russia’s attempted meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Trump believes the decision made him susceptible to scrutiny by special prosecutor Robert Mueller, and, as Vanity Fair speculates it could cause Trump to remove Sessions in the wake of the recent dismissal of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Back in January, Politico reported that Pruitt told those close to him that he’d interested in the attorney general post. His record on pot, however, could make Sessions look like a legalization advocate by comparison.
So, Who Is Scott Pruitt?
While serving as Oklahoma’s attorney general, Pruitt’s disdain for cannabis was on full display when he filed a federal lawsuit against marijuana policies of the neighboring Colorado. (The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately decided not to take the case.)
In another case, Pruitt tried to rewrite the ballot title for an Oklahoma medical cannabis measure to make voters think it was actually a recreational initiative. Ultimately, advocates sued and the state Supreme Court overturned the attorney general’s changes, but Pruitt’s actions the delay caused the measure to be bumped from the 2016 general election ballot to this year’s primary at the end of June.
Last year, as EPA administrator, Pruitt moved to block approval of pesticides for use on marijuana in states where it is legal, claiming that “any economic, social or environmental costs associated with pesticide use on cannabis would not be reasonable or justified in light of the fact that such use is in furtherance of an illegal act.”
As of this time of this writing, Trump has avoided shaming Sessions publicly, and says that he isn’t considering replacing Sessions with Pruitt. Those close to the situation aren’t so sure, however, claiming that Trump’s criticism of Sessions behind closed doors is as aggressive as ever.
Stay tuned to the Sugar Leaf for updates.