California lawmakers could be prepping for a federal crackdown on weed. And they want to send a clear message: Nobody messes with The Golden State’s legal weed. Not even the feds. A group of six legislators just introduced a bill that would block California cops and sheriffs from helping federal agencies that want to bust people for weed-related activities that are legal in California.
How The Bill Would Work
The new bill would focus on the relationship between local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. Under current rules, local and state cops are supposed to cooperate with federal drug agents.
But if this bill passes, it would block California’s law enforcement resources from being used to help federal agents bust people for weed. This would only apply if feds were going after somebody who was following state laws.
And there is also one important exception to all this. Local resources would still be used to help federal efforts if there’s a court order first.
Protecting California’s Voters
Last fall, Californians voted to legalize recreational cannabis. And for the lawmakers involved with this new bill, it’s all about protecting that decision.
Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer said the bill is intended to maintain “the will of our state’s voters who overwhelmingly supported” legalizing weed.
Assemblyman Rob Bonta had similar thoughts. He said that California should not use resources to help “the federal government” do things “that run counter to the crystal-clear wishes of California voters.”
But not everyone sees it that way. As a result, the bill has stirred up controversy. Already, many state and local law enforcement agencies see the bill as too restrictive.
Is A Federal Crackdown Coming?
The bill also raises questions about how state laws on weed stack up against federal laws. On the one hand, California residents voted to legalize cannabis. But on the other hand, it’s still illegal at the federal level.
And the federal government could be moving in an even more anti-weed direction. Recent activity in Washington may point to a coming federal crackdown on weed. In late February, for example, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said there could be “greater enforcement” against weed.
And last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke out against cannabis. He claimed that weed is “only slightly less awful” than heroin. Later on, he also said that medical cannabis “had been hyped, maybe too much.”
These comments could hint at a federal crackdown on weed. If that happens, it may introduce some serious problems for states that have voted to legalize it. States like California.
For now, it looks like this is exactly what California is responding to. This new bill could be an attempt to protect cannabis growers, sellers, and users from federal prosecution.