A controversial bill that would bar California law enforcement from helping the federal government prosecute marijuana offenses has passed a key legislative hurdle.
A controversial bill that would bar California state and local law enforcement from helping the federal government prosecute marijuana offenses has passed a key legislative hurdle.
With language reminiscent of highly publicized “sanctuary state” immigration legislation, the measure passed the state Assembly by the slimmest of margins, with several Democrats backing away from the bill as law enforcement groups across the state opposed it. The bill now heads to the Senate.
Authored by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer of Los Angeles and co-sponsored by several Bay Area Democrats, AB 1578 would prohibit California police and sheriff departments and other state and local agencies from using their resources to assist a federal agency in investigating, detaining, reporting or arresting Californians for marijuana-related activity permitted under state law. California law enforcement would still have to cooperate with federal officials if instructed to do so by court order.
Californians voted to legalize recreational marijuana use and sales last November. The Trump administration has hinted it may step up prosecution of marijuana-related offenses, reversing the Obama administration’s hands-off policy on the issue.