Attorney General Jeff Sessions is certainly a lightening rod for controversy, within the cannabis community and the general public, and hardly a day goes by that he isn’t making waves in the news. As a majority of Americans now want Sessions to resign for lying to Congress about meeting the Russian Ambassador during the height of the election hacking scandal, the ACLU has officially filed a complaint against the AG and Sessions has asked 46 US attorneys, holdovers from the Obama Administration, for their resignation.
The purging of the previous administrations US attorneys dates back to the Reagan Administration as all facets of our government have become more politicized. With Sessions-approved attorneys filling these prosecutorial positions, we can expect more draconian drug prosecutions. What this might mean for the cannabis industry in legal marijuana states is to be determined.
BREAKING: Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeks resignation of 46 United States attorneys remaining from prior administration.
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) March 10, 2017
While state-regulated marijuana businesses await a new federal policy from the Donald Trump Administration, Attorney General Sessions is under fire from the ACLU, who submitted a complaint with the Alabama Bar Association over the AG’s untruthful statements during his confirmation hearings. The Washington Post reports:
The committees and the Office of General Counsel will make recommendations to the disciplinary commission, which will determine whether to move forward with disciplinary sanctions. According to the state bar’s website, punishments range from private reprimand to disbarment, which can either be temporary or permanent. If the commission decides to impose a penalty, that information will be made public.
The possibility of an investigation, let alone a punishment, is far too early to assess. Anders said the whole process could take between six to 18 months, and the bulk of ethics violations for most state bars around the country involve misusing clients’ money, which is not an accusation against Sessions.
But if the worst-case scenario of disbarment does happen, it will likely be difficult for Sessions to fulfill the responsibilities of the attorney general. That includes advising the president on legal matters and representing the country in foreign and domestic courts — duties performed by a lawyer.
As the cannabis community examines each and every statement from the Trump Administration on marijuana and every development with Jeff Sessions looking for clues on whether the federal government will adhere to Trump’s campaign promises, it appears that AG Sessions certainly has his hands full and a lot of fires to put out. How can he even prioritize marijuana at this point, with everything on his plate? We’ll continue monitoring the situation here at Weed News, stay tuned for the latest on anything and everything that impacts marijuana legalization and the greater Drug War.
March 9, 2017
WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union today filed a complaint with the Alabama State Bar against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, asking it to investigate a potential rules violation after Sessions made false statements during sworn testimony at his confirmation hearing for attorney general.
“False testimony made under oath is one of the most serious ethical offenses a lawyer can make and one any state bar should investigate vigorously,” said ACLU National Political Director Faiz Shakir. “Alabamians and Americans from all walks of life should be assured that the organizations responsible for regulating lawyers in their state takes ethical violations seriously — no matter how powerful that lawyer may be.”
“Few events are more corrosive to a democracy than having the Attorney General make false statements under oath about a matter the Justice Department is investigating,” said Christopher Anders, deputy director of the ACLU’s legislative office. “Jeff Sessions told a falsehood to the Senate, and did nothing to correct his statement until he was exposed by the press more than a month later. No attorney, whether just starting out as a new lawyer or serving as the country’s top law enforcement officer, should lie under oath. The Alabama bar must investigate this wrong fully and fairly.”
Alabama State Bar rules state that it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to “engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.” Sessions has been a member of the bar since 1973.
In his confirmation hearing, then-Senator Sessions was asked about any contact he had with members of the Russian government and responded at the time that he “did not have any communications with the Russians.” It has since come to light that Sessions met with Russia’s ambassador to the United States on at least several occasions.
The complaint is available here: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/sessions-ethics-complaint