Could California Become a ‘Sanctuary State’ for Pot?

Photo by Justin Cannabis

California, we love you for so many reasons, especially now with an administration in the White House that would rip up the constitution if it could.

California spoke out against the administration’s unfair immigration policies, insane attempts to destroy the environment and is now preparing to defend our honor, and our legal weed, if the feds invade.

Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer, a Democrat from South Los Angeles, along with two senators and three assembly members, co-authored Assembly Bill 1578 that seeks to protect legal cannabis operations from the threatened assault Attorney General Jeff Sessions hinted could occur in the future.

The bill would prevent state and local authorities from participating in a federal crackdown, without a judge’s court order.

In addition to blocking local officials from being compelled to enforce federal cannabis laws, which regards weed like cocaine, heroin and meth, the law would keep cannabis businesses’ and customers’ private information safe from the feds.

Oregon recently approved a bill to protect recreational weed buyers’ information. Colorado is also taking measures with a recent package of legislation that would allow growers and retailers to reclassify their recreational pot as medical marijuana.

According to Jones-Sawyer, the California bill seeks more effective use of law enforcement resources for all groups involved, specifically aimed to protect individuals and businesses deemed legal by the state of California, noting that there are plenty not deemed legal.

At the moment, in Los Angeles, there are nearly 1,400 dispensaries operating illegally compared to only about 135 that have proper licenses.

“I’m not impeding in any way, shape or fashion, law enforcement’s ability to go after those illegal ones,” Jones-Sawyer told Leafly. “In fact, I encourage it.”

Jones-Sawyer, a longtime advocate for ending cannabis prohibition, pointed out that those who are being arrested, however, tend to be from communities of color like Jones-Sawyer’s own constituents in south LA—the very people who have been instrumental, after years of hard work and legal pressure, in achieving legalization today.

“[The] business will ultimately be very good for minorities and Africans-Americans and I think this bill will ensure that we don’t impede that growth,” Jones-Sawyer said.

This bill, similar to legislation under consideration to create an immigration “sanctuary” in certain cities for undocumented people who live and work there, Assembly Bill 1578 would restrict federal ability to interfere in local matters by commandeering local resources.

“This is the equivalent of noncooperation on deportation and environmental laws, part of the larger California resistance to federal intrusion,” Dr. Dale Gieringer, state coordinator of California NORML, told LA Weekly.

The bill will have its first hearing on April 18 in the Assembly’s Committee on Public Safety, of which Jones-Sawyer’s is the chair.

Stay tuned.

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