California Could Extend ‘Sanctuary State’ Status to Marijuana

Washington Free Beacon | 1/17/2018 | Susan Crabtree
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BY: Susan Crabtree

Protecting the state's burgeoning cannabis industry is the latest front in California's war with the Trump administration, as state officials work to make California a so-called "sanctuary state" for the marijuana industry.

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The effort borrows the sanctuary idea from a controversial California law passed last year limiting local law enforcement's efforts to work with federal authorities to arrest and deport illegal immigrants.

Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, a Democrat who represents part of Los Angeles, is determined to protect the burgeoning billion-dollar marijuana industry in the state from federal prosecution by reviving a bill that stalled in the Senate in June after passing in the Assembly.

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While many states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana use, the drug is still illegal under federal law. Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this month moved to rescind the Obama-era hands-off policy on states with marijuana-friendly state laws just as California's law legalizing recreational use went into effect.

The move by Sessions allows federal prosecutors to crack down on marijuana growers and sellers but it does not direct them to do so or provide more resources to target the industry.

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The Justice Department on Tuesday declined to comment on California's new legislative sanctuary push and would not forecast its enforcement plans. Before Gov. Jerry Brown signed the immigration sanctuary state bill into law, Sessions in September called the legislation "unconscionable" and a threat to public safety.

During his first week in office, President Donald Trump himself tried to cut off funds to cities and counties that prohibit local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. A federal judge in San Francisco blocked the order in April, and the Justice Department filed a motion saying it would appeal in September.

Justice - Department - Marijuana - Enforcement - Plans

So far, the Justice Department is keeping its federal marijuana enforcement plans close to the vest.

California law enforcement groups oppose the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Washington Free Beacon
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