Trump Administration Hints At Marijuana Crackdown
Trump Administration authorities including Attorney General Jeff Sessions are hinting at a possible federal crackdown on state-licensed recreational marijuana dealers. But a group of California lawmakers wants to block local police and sheriff’s departments from assisting such raids and arrests unless forced by a court order.
AB 1578 would prohibit state and local agencies from using resources to assist federal law enforcement authorities with marijuana enforcement against people in compliance with California state law.
Recently introduced by six Democratic legislators, the bill is already generating controversy. It has inspired extraordinarily annoying whining from local law enforcement officials, who claim the law would improperly tie their hands by preventing them from cooperating with federal drug agents.
AB 1578 would protect Californians who are operating lawfully under state laws by providing that absent a court order, local and state agencies, including regulators and law enforcement, shall not assist in any federal enforcement against state authorized medical cannabis or commercial or noncommercial marijuana activity. The bill will get its first hearing April 18 in the Assembly Public Safety Committee.
Sheriff Finds Protecting Californians ‘Offensive,’ Wants To Continue Helping Federal Raids
“It really is quite offensive,” said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, president of the California State Sheriffs’ Association, reports Patrick McGreevy at the Los Angeles Times. The sheriff said he objected to lawmakers “wanting to direct law enforcement how they want us to work.” Apparently it’s slipped Sheriff Youngblood’s mind that the voters who pay his salary are the same ones who elected those lawmakers to represent them.
Youngblood bragged that his department “frequently” works with federal drug agents in task forces which raid marijuana grows in forested areas of Kern County. The sheriff said he doesn’t want to be prevented from working with the feds, even if the state starts licensing pot farms. In the considered estimation of Toke Signals, Sheriff Youngblood is a bitch-ass whiner, a traitor to California, and besides that, an asshole.
“[Growing and selling marijuana] is still a federal felony and we are still in the United States of America, and the state of California cannot take over the United States,” Youngblood said, predicting that “at some point the federal government is going to have to step in and say, ‘You can’t do that.’” It’s not hard to tell this fascist son of a bitch can hardly wait for that scenario to play out so he can go all Rambo on those damn marijuana people.
Given all that, it shouldn’t be surprising that on Easter Sunday 2013, a Bakersfield police dog was released into the home of 60-year-old Victoria Youngblood, Sheriff Youngblood’s estranged wife, as she slept, reported Jose Gaspar at BakersfieldNow.com. The dog “clamped down” on Victoria’s neck and the back of her head, mangling one of her ears badly. Sheriff Youngblood had “no comment” on the incident.
Measure Needed To Protect Farmers, Merchants From Federal Arrest and Prosecution
Proponents point out the measure is needed to assure cannabis farmers and merchants applying for state licenses won’t be vulnerable to federal arrest and prosecution. Federal law still illogically classifies marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, a legal classification which also includes heroin and LSD. Even cocaine and meth, as Schedule II drugs, are officially considered safer than weed by the federal government.
“Prohibiting our state and local law enforcement agencies from expending resources to assist federal intrusion of California-compliant cannabis activity reinforces … the will of our state’s voters who overwhelmingly supported Proposition 64,” said Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), the lead author of the new bill.In 2016, the voters of California overwhelming approved Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which provided that adults 21 and over could purchase and possess a limited amount of marijuana for personal use. However, the current president and Attorney General have hinted at a forthcoming crackdown on the recreational use of marijuana in states that have approved adult personal use.
“California voters have decided we don’t want to spend scarce resources on a war on marijuana,” said Lynne Lyman, California state director for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “The threat of federal intervention essentially signifies a return to prohibition, which is a return to the chaos of an untaxed unregulated underground market, and ensnares thousands of otherwise law-abiding Californians in the devastating cycle of the criminal justice system.”
‘Businesses Will Need To Feel Confident’
“The election of Mr. Trump as president, and subsequent confirmation of Mr. Sessions as attorney general, has been perceived by many of our members to have increased the risk of doing business,” said Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association.
“Businesses will need to feel confident that the state will protect them from the federal government,” Allen said.
“It is very hard for federal agents to go into a rural county and kick down a bunch of doors and arrest a bunch of people without the local sheriff being a part of it.” Allen said. “It’s dangerous, actually. This is about giving them legal standing to actively not participate.”
Bonta: ‘California Is Committed To Not Sharing Licensee Information With The Federal Government’
“As this administration has threatened to defund California, we should not be expending scarce local and state resources to assist the federal government in ways that run counter to the crystal-clear wishes of California voters,” said Asseblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), a co-author of the measured.
Bonta added that AB 1578 “will reassure responsible operators” that the state won’t turn them in to federal authorities.
Assemblyman Bonta also pointed out that the bill would protect the personal information of marijuana license holders, making them more willing to register with state regulators. “California is committed to not sharing licensee information with the federal government and thereby upholding the will of the voters in creating a safe marketplace for medical and adult use,” Bonta said.