Sessions Frothing to Go
After Marijuana Legalizers!
Could Russia Foul It All Up?
AG Jeff Sessions has been menacingly waving multiple swords for months threatening states that have legalized medical and adult-use marijuana with a variety of different federal law enforcement actions. Examples of his sword-waving are:
1. Sent a letter to congress in May asking that the Rohrabacher/Farr amendment, which prevents the DOJ from spending money enforcing federal marijuana prohibition law in states with regulated medical marijuana distribution programs, be repealed,
2. Claims of evidence linking marijuana use to an “historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,”
3. On Monday, July 17, told the National District Attorneys Association. "We plan to develop policies to increase forfeitures” and has reportedly authorized a re-invigorated asset seizure program. This program could be used by Sessions to impede the sale of marijuana in states where it's legal as the government doesn't need to file criminal charges to take someone's money, property or other assets,
4. Threatens to withhold federal funds if states do not cooperate in enforcement of federal laws.
President Trump’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, will release a report by the end of July that is expected to support Session’s much ballyhooed linkage of marijuana to violent crime while recommending tougher sentences for those cultivating, distributing and using it. It should be no surprise to learn that Sessions is the Chair of the Task Force.
As much of an old-line drug warrior as imaginable, Sessions is raring for the fight seemingly unconcerned that opposition to his renewed War on Drugs is not just from Democrats, but from Republican leaders in Congress as well.
As part of a rare bipartisan group of Senators cooperatively working to enact legislation which would allow states to continue implementing their voter approved medical marijuana laws free of any federal interference, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky), who supported the Obama Administration’s revision of the War on Drugs criminal charges and sentencing guidelines has stated “I will oppose anybody from the administration or otherwise that wants to interfere with state policy.”
President Trump must be aware of Session’s intentions and is encouraging him to go forward by providing him with the means to do so. Last month Trump affixed a signing statement to the Congressional Budget bill that he is not legally bound to the defunding provision that prevents the DOJ from interfering in states medical marijuana laws.
Is there any hope? Any chance that Session’s sword will be sheathed and the attack aborted? Yes there is and it is coming from a most unexpected quarter – Russia.
Ever since his inauguration, Trump has been besieged by allegations that Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election on his behalf. Supported by statements issued by Russian president Vladimir Putin, Trump has repeatedly denied any involvement personally and by members of his administration and election campaign.
Before becoming part of the Trump administration as AG, Sessions was chairman of the Trump campaign's National Security Advisory Committee. It would be highly inappropriate, if not bordering on criminal, for Sessions to meet with Sergey Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador to the United States, while serving on Trump’s election campaign, but meet with him he did.
Sessions is not a political neophyte and must have been fully aware just how “inappropriate” such a meeting would be. How else to account for his "alternative fact" statement in his January confirmation hearings for the position of AG that he “did not have communications with the Russians.”
When the Washington Post reported in March that Sessions had two meetings with Kislyak during the campaign, Sessions quickly recanted his previous testimony that he “did not have communications with the Russians.” He now clearly remembered that he met with Kislyak “in an official capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee” with no campaign issues being discussed.
Going out further on a limb, Mr. Sessions also failed to list the meetings when filling out the required government forms to secure a security clearance. Asked to list any contact he or family members had with foreign governments or their representatives over the past seven years, Sessions failed to include his meetings with Kislyak. Although a spokesman for the DOJ stated that Sessions was advised by DOJ staff not to list meetings with foreign dignitaries and their staff connected with his Senate activities, he surely knew it is a federal crime to make false statements or withhold relevant information on a background check form. He was Alabama’s attorney general.
Continuing to insist that he engaged in no campaign discussions with Kislyak or any other Russian, he testified at a Senate hearing in June, “Let me state this clearly: I have never met with or had any conversations with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election.” “Further, I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign.”
Last week an article in the Washington Post revealed that U.S. spy agencies had intercepted messages sent by Kislyak to his superiors in Russia reporting “that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race.”
The article went on to report that “One U.S. official said that Sessions — who testified that he had no recollection of an April encounter — has provided “misleading” statements that are “contradicted by other evidence.” A former official said that the intelligence indicates that Sessions and Kislyak had “substantive” discussions on matters including Trump’s positions on Russia-related issues and prospects for U.S.-Russia relations in a Trump administration.”
From denying any “communications with the Russians” to denying “any conversations with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election,” Sessions has tied himself in multiple knots to the point of possibly having committed perjury in sworn testimony before Congress.
In addition to his own personal transgressions relating to contact with Russians during the Presidential campaign, Sessions is now being investigated by the newly appointed FBI Special Counsel, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, for obstruction of justice for his role in the firing of former FBI Director James Comey who was pressing forward with an investigation probing into Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election and contacts between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Of course, the filing of criminal charges by the DOJ against Sessions in time to stop his crusade against marijuana legalization is remote. It is far more likely that Trump will have the DOJ investigate Hillary Clinton for using a private email server and “losing” 33,000 emails then Sessions for perjury and/or obstruction of justice.
The glimmer of hope for getting rid of Sessions sooner rather than later lies with the President himself. Angered by Sessions decision to recuse himself from the FBI’s Russia investigation, Trump told the New York Times that Sessions decision was “very unfair” to him.
In another article published on July 20, the NY Times reported that:
Longtime Trump ally Roger Stone argued this week that Trump has been disappointed in Sessions. “The president initially bonded with Sessions because he saw him as a tough guy. Now he’s saying: 'Where’s my tough guy? Why doesn’t he have my back?’ There’s a lack of aggressiveness with Sessions, unless it involves chasing people for smoking pot.”
Further amplifying Trump’s impatience with Sessions was a Presidential tweet sent out on July 23 reading:
“So many people are asking why isn't the A.G. or Special Council looking at the many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes. 33,000 e-mails deleted?”
Followed by another Presidential tweet on July 24 reading:
“So why aren't the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?”
Whether President Trump fires Sessions or he is forced to resign due to criminal indictments, Trump could just appoint another equally bad AG. Of course, it might be hard to find one as racist, misogynistic, xenophobic and reefer mad as the former Senator from Alabama, but I am sure if Trump looked under enough rocks he could find one.
The long delay engendered by replacing Sessions with a new AG would give the forces of reason and rationality on both sides of the aisle the time needed to further protect marijuana legalization laws in those states that have them and allow states considering marijuana legalization the time to needed to pass and enact them.
Continue to probe local actions to
implement local access to marijuana
Although Sessions may be an existential threat to implementing local access to marijuana, the bans being enacted by cities and counties are real and immediate. The August MAPP meetings will continue to explore this issue featuring a special presentation at the Moreno Valley MAPP meeting on Wed. August 2 featuring Terrance McBride, IE marijuana entrepreneur and CEO of Phadeville.
McBride is seeking to develop programs in the IE to create partnerships with industry and distributors to create an atmosphere conducive to developing marijuana businesses while providing a new tax base and other benefits to the community.
Mark your calendar now to attend one of the MAPP meetings near you.
Wednesday, August 2 at 7:30 p.m. – Moreno Valley/Western IE MAPP meeting - Greenview Medical, 22275 Alessandro Blvd, Moreno Valley, CA 92553
Saturday, August 5 at 12 noon - Palm Springs/Coachella Valley meeting – Crystal Fantasy, 268 N. Palm Canyon Dr., downtown Palm Springs 92262.
Saturday, August 5 at 3 p.m. - Joshua Tree/Morongo Valley meeting – Beatnik Lounge, 61597 Twenty-Nine Palms Hwy., Joshua Tree 92252.
The newest episode of Marijuana Compassion and Common Sense explores this issue with Robert Mikos, one of the nation’s leading experts on federalism and drug law. His soon-to-be published and first of its kind law school textbook Marijuana Law, Policy, and Authority is written to be accessible to a broad audience -- not just lawyers and law students.
On the show, Mr. Mikos discusses his new book, how marijuana law found its way into a law school curriculum, how it differs from other product laws, discusses the evolution of marijuana law, how big the field is expected to become and how other attorneys and his peers view marijuana law as a legitimate legal field. Marijuana law may be obtuse, complex and at times baffling, but after listening to Mr. Mikos, it begins to come together in a reasoned and rational way
To hear the interview with Mr. Mikos, CLICK HERE or go to
www.blogtalkradio.com/marijuananews anytime that it is convenient to hear.