Resistance State: California in the Age of Trump
Between Sacramento and Washington D.C. sits the rest of the country, and a chasm. On immigration and taxes, guns and healthcare, cannabis and climate change, California is the federal government’s equal and opposite reaction. One year into President Trump’s first term, the push and pull continues—playing out under the Capitol dome, in the courts and on Twitter.
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For the fourth time this year, Congress has prevented the Trump administration from arresting medical marijuana users. But for California medical growers and users to feel safe from federal prosecution, Congress will need to act a fifth time before the end of 2017.
Late last week, Congress passed and President Trump signed a temporary spending measure to fund the federal government through December 22. Included in that legislation was the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which prohibits the Department of Justice from using federal funds to interfere with state-sanctioned medical cannabis operations. The amendment has in one form or another been attached to federal spending bills since 2014, effectively handcuffing DOJ from enforcing a federal prohibition on pot that categorizes the drug in the same class as heroin and other heavy narcotics. California legalized medical marijuana in the 1990’s.
Led by outspoken marijuana critic Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Trump administration has repeatedly chafed at the amendment, issuing signing statements and other official communications challenging its lawfulness.
Cannabis proponents are reportedly confident that Rohrabacher-Blumenauer will again survive a new spending bill, as the provision enjoys bipartisan support. Several prominent California Republicans support the initiative, including Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of Costa Mesa and Rep. Duncan Hunter of Alpine.
The amendment only protects medical marijuana operations. California will fully legalize recreational pot Jan 1.
A day after Gov. Jerry Brown agreed to the Trump administration’s request to beef up the National Guard in states along the Mexico border, fellow Democrat Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said he would not have made the same decision as governor.
But Newsom, who is the front-runner in the race to replace Brown as governor, put a large asterisk on his disagreement with Brown:
Brown announced Wednesday that he would accept federal funding to add 400 California National Guard members “to combat transnational crime.” But he laid out a long list of conditions in an agreement with federal authorities: The troops will not build a border wall or enforce immigration laws, and the arrangement is approved only until Sept. 30. Brown also specified that when it comes to the state’s National Guard, he is the “commander in chief.”
America’s Commander in Chief responded Thursday on Twitter: “Thank you Jerry, good move for the safety of our Country!”