cannabis

Having legalized recreational cannabis in its historic 2016 ballot initiative, the most populous U.S. state is not done challenging federal prohibition. California lawmakers have passed a bill that would prohibit cops in the state from helping the feds carry out their war on people and the cannabis plant.

Perhaps inspired by Colorado’s similar move, the California Assembly passed Bill 1578 by a thin margin, which now moves to the Senate for consideration before going to the governor’s desk.

The bill would prohibit state and local agencies from using “money, facilities, property, equipment, or personnel to assist a federal agency to investigate, detain, detect, report, or arrest a person for commercial or noncommercial marijuana or medical cannabis activity that is authorized by law in the State of California.”

Agencies also would be barred from responding to requests “made by a federal agency for personal information about an individual who is authorized to possess, cultivate, transport, manufacture, sell, or possess for sale marijuana or marijuana products or medical cannabis or medical cannabis products, if that request is made for the purpose of investigating or enforcing federal marijuana law.”

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Agencies also could not “Transfer an individual to federal law enforcement authorities for purposes of marijuana enforcement or detain an individual at the request of federal law enforcement for conduct that is legal under state law.”

California’s move to protect its citizens from the injustice of federal prohibition takes on even greater urgency with rabid drug warrior Jeff Session as Attorney General, under President Trump, who declared that he reserves the right to crack down on states with medical and recreational cannabis laws.

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As the Tenth Amendment Center points out, there is strong legal precedent in withdrawing state and local enforcement of federal law under the ‘anti-commandeering doctrine.’ Four U.S. Supreme Court cases, dating back to 1842, provide sound support for the position that “federal government cannot force states to help implement or enforce any federal act or program.”

In the 1997 case of Printz vs. US, the late Justice Scalia wrote:

We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the States’ officers directly. The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.

Ending state enforcement would essentially end prohibition itself, since, according to the FBI, “law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law.”

Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, the author of Bill 1578, notes that California shouldn’t waste any more taxpayer money enforcing the fed’s senseless war.

AB 1578 ensures that our limited local and state resources are not spent on federal marijuana enforcement against individuals and entities that are in compliance with our laws,” said Jones-Sawyer during the floor debate.

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Naturally, law enforcement groups are strongly opposed to the bill, recognizing that it would hinder their ability to steal cash and assets from innocent people through civil asset forfeiture. Several lawmakers, conveniently ignoring the issue of states’ rights, are also strongly opposed.

One frantic Assemblyman appealed to fear, claiming cops will be put “in harm’s way,” while groveling for centralized authority.

This is insanity,” said Allen. “This is a complete violation of federal law. The hubris of California Democrats believing they can flout federal law on immigration and drug policy is beyond words.”

Nevermind the enormous economic opportunity of recreational cannabis sales, or the injustice of locking people in cages for victimless behavior, or the environmental benefit that will be realized when the open marketplace drives out criminal operations poisoning fish and wildlife.

For now, rationality has the edge in California and Colorado. States must exert their Tenth Amendment rights in no uncertain terms, and preventing cops from taking part in the federal drug war is an excellent way.

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Justin Gardner is a peaceful free-thinker with a background in the biological sciences. He is interested in bringing rationality back into the national discourse, and independent journalism as a challenge to the status quo.
  • Damiana

    This is magnificent news – kudos to California!

    • G’ma G

      Just keep reminding yourself that everything government does is backwards and it actually does start to make sense. This is the root of the evil in the people running governments. It’s surreal, almost like they have to as part of their evil compact to stay in power. Understanding of course does not mean accepting.

      • Mod8guy

        The people have not run our government for quite some time.

  • G’ma G

    This is unfortunately just political grand standing. Here in Washington police are not allowed to cooperate with the feds on pot. They simply get around it by the feds hiring the police during off duty hours. Look up “Kettle Falls Five”. This is exactly what was done to our neighbors. They were cleared by the county sheriffs as being in compliance with state law but 2 of these very same deputies returned a few days later on the fed payroll with federal agents and busted them. Where do you think the feds got the info from? (This happened during the time their medical plants were legal under state law but before recreational was legalized)

  • Pot is going to help contribute to the next Civil War.

    …Bring it on.

    • 174thandvyse

      …and we herb-smoking, multicultural, TRUE Americans will SQUASH the right-wing imbeciles like insects!

      • But you don’t like guns. How are you going to do that, exactly? Ask the government for help?

        • 174thandvyse

          Who said that I “don’t like guns”? I am a gun owner! What I don’t like is so-called “conservative” groups, like the NRA, being given the narrative on how guns are actually used. Contrary to the NRA’s, and most Republicans’ beliefs, most shootings do NOT occur during robberies…they happen when somebody shows-off, or during arguments. I’ve seen it a hundred times! You see, I grew up in the ghetto, so I’ve seen it all. Two people argue in front of their buildings, and when it escalates, one or both of the two guys will go upstairs to get a gun that they have in the drawer. Usually, they carry the gun JUST to “scare” the person, but many times, it leads to a shooting, because the other guy doesn’t get scared, and he wants to show off.

  • Abz B Zbas

    Next, take on the hiring discrimination that employers use to reject applicants who use a legal product in their own free time.

  • 174thandvyse

    One thing’s for sure…these, ah, “States Rights Republicans” are ANYTHING but…

  • crazytrain2

    Good. Legalize the shit already. However, if I was that cop that the goof is blowing pot smoke in their face, I would probably arrest them. I will have to think about an applicable charge. That is impairing a police officer’s ability to drive or do much of anything job related. It is a dick move, and I would put aside my no arrest for pot policy to arrest that person.

    • 174thandvyse

      Actually, I agree with you, but not for the reasons you stated. If I was that cop, I just wouldn’t like being disrespected, that’s all. There are legitimate ways to make your point, and invading another person’s “aura” is not one of them.

      • crazytrain2

        It comes with the job. I don’t like it either, but I remind myself that it is usually not personal, and is directed towards the badge, not the crazytrain

  • 174thandvyse

    What happened go all of these, ahem, “States Rights Republicans”? The Legalization movement, State by State, is calling the States Rights peoples’ bluff. Let’s see if these so-called “conservatives” can back up their words re: local control.