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Federal Cannabis Laws, Sanctuary State and California
06 - 22 - 2017

According to an article published this month in the LA Times, California is moving closer to becoming a “sanctuary state” where local and state police would not assist federal enforcement of marijuana laws. A bill approved by the State Assembly would bar state and local law enforcement officers, absent of a court order, from helping federal drug agents in arresting people who are complying with state cannabis laws.

With law enforcement opposed to the bill, the measure faced long odds and only achieved the bare majority 41-32 vote. The bill will now be sent to the State Senate for consideration.

Republican lawmakers were also against the idea, who said it would hamper the working relationship between California police officers and federal drug agents who might discover illegal activity involving marijuana sales even in a legal market.

Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer said he was open to revising the bill language to make it clear he wanted to allow cooperation between locals and federal agents in cases where state and federal marijuana laws were being violated.

Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), who co-wrote the bill, said the measure would reassure those who complied with California’s cannabis laws that they would not get in trouble.

Bonta said, “People who are compliant with California law and operate within the legal cannabis market should not have to fear that a state or local agency will participate in efforts to punish or incarcerate them for activity that the state and its voters have deemed legal.”

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