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As Pot Shops Fear Federal Crackdown, CA Lawmaker Introduces Sanctuary-Pot' Bill

Local pot shops are preparing for a crackdown on federal drug agents despite the legalization of recreational marijua...

Posted: Jan 11, 2018 5:53 AM
Updated: Jan 11, 2018 5:53 AM

Local pot shops are preparing for a crackdown on federal drug agents despite the legalization of recreational marijuana.

But state lawmakers are fighting to protect the industry's rights. One Democratic assemblyman wants to make California a sanctuary state for pot which means federal authorities would need a court order to bust a dispensary or marijuana grow.

With cannabis now be legal in California, business at River City Phoenix is at an all-time high.

"We've gone from probably 300-400 patients a day to maybe 500-600," said Matt Z-berg.

But Matt Z-berg fears federal drug agents could still come into his thriving Sacramento shop and take it all away.

"Any day they could come to your front door and close everything down," he said.

And U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is threatening to do just that. Last week, Sessions rescinded an Obama-era policy allowing marijuana to be sold without federal prosecution.

California Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) is determined to stop the feds with a sanctuary-pot bill.

"Local law enforcement should not waste their resources on going into legal state and local cannabis establishments," said Jones-Sawyer.

It would work like California's sanctuary state law, shielding illegal immigrants from federal immigration agents. The only difference here is that local and state law enforcement would be barred from helping federal drug agents. Without a court order, the feds won't be able to arrest people complying with state marijuana laws.

But would they still go after illegal pot shops?

"We will not inhibit that in any way, in fact, I've added special precautions in our bill to ensure that local law enforcement does, in fact, close down illegal marijuana operations," he said.

Anti-marijuana activists are gearing up for a new fight.

"What it's gonna take in California? They gotta bring out the National Guard and allocate millions of dollars to begin the cleanup," said activist Carla Lowe.

Carla Lowe says that would take a lot of money.

And the feds haven't announced their enforcement plan quite yet.

"I believe the state of California has set up really good regulations and procedures. I'm hoping that's enough to not get us pursued," said Z-berg.

Back at the legislature, the bill is moving through both houses, and advocates are confident the governor will sign it if it gets to his desk.

Meanwhile, are federal prosecutors free to ignore attorney general Jeff Sessions' rescinding of the Obama era policy? In short, yes.

United States attorneys in federal districts around the country have the discretion to continue to focus their resources elsewhere and to not bring marijuana cases.

But it's still unknown how President Trump's justice department will handle the new policy in practice.

Sessions has the power to replace attorneys who don't enforce marijuana laws with those who will.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 793065

Reported Deaths: 15189
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2621336401
Riverside574821172
San Bernardino52873908
Orange523821150
San Diego45147765
Kern31572354
Fresno27843362
Sacramento21628383
Alameda20748390
Santa Clara20587299
San Joaquin20019421
Stanislaus16398339
Contra Costa16056201
Tulare15687256
Ventura12477146
Imperial11606314
San Francisco1086599
San Mateo9625144
Monterey956869
Santa Barbara8930110
Merced8820137
Kings753477
Sonoma7160120
Marin6613113
Solano619457
Madera442465
Placer350742
San Luis Obispo343827
Butte276940
Yolo276554
Santa Cruz22768
Sutter167910
Napa164113
San Benito131211
Yuba11307
El Dorado10744
Mendocino87518
Lassen7350
Shasta72414
Glenn5633
Nevada5246
Colusa5196
Tehama5134
Lake51211
Humboldt4896
Calaveras31114
Amador28616
Tuolumne2264
Inyo18714
Mono1652
Siskiyou1630
Del Norte1381
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc250
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
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Oroville
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Paradise
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Chester
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Mild temperatures, breezy south winds, and improved air quality are ahead for your Wednesday. Coastal showers will be possible on Thursday, and then hot temperatures and high fire danger return for your weekend.
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