DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Comings and goings by two top federal officials this week could have big repercussions for the burgeoning marijuana industry.
On Thursday, the Senate confirmed Loretta Lynch as U.S. Attorney General, five months after her nomination by President Barack Obama. Meanwhile, the Justice Department said Tuesday that Michele Leonhart will step down from her role as head of the Drug Enforcement Administration next month.
Leonhart, who is leaving amid a scandal over DEA agents engaging in sex parties with prostitutes supplied by drug cartels, is known to be a steadfast opponent of marijuana legalization who once refused to say whether or not she believed marijuana to be safer than crack cocaine or heroin. While Leonhart’s successor is unknown, her departure on its own is likely to be cheered by the emerging cannabis industry and proponents for the drug’s widespread legalization.
Meanwhile, Lynch, who will succeed Eric Holder as head of the Justice Department and the nation’s top law enforcement officer, is known to be politically liberal. But she is not expected to be as open-minded as Holder when it comes to marijuana legalization.