Sessions Targets Immigration Protections As States Consider Sanctuary Policies For Marijuana

Sessions Targets Immigration Protections As States Consider Sanctuary Policies For Marijuana


California Governor Jerry Brown is pushing back against Jeff Sessions, telling reporters that the attorney general acts "more like Fox News than a law enforcement officer." The comments came after the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the state, challenging its sanctuary laws on immigration.

The lawsuit comes as an increasing number of states consider adopting sanctuary laws for their marijuana programs. Similar to sanctuary laws for immigration, declaring a city a cannabis sanctuary prohibits local law enforcement from cooperating with federal agencies on marijuana enforcement.

The city of Berkeley declared itself a sanctuary for medical marijuana patients in 2008. In February, the city declared itself a sanctuary for recreational consumers too – the first jurisdiction in the nation to do so.

"Federal enforcement could have serious negative impacts in local tax revenues," read the proposal.  "A regulated cannabis industry means cannabis cultivation will… contribute to a healthier and more sustainable environmental impact than an underground cannabis economy that will persist despite federal enforcement."

The Berkeley City Council approved the measure unanimously. And at least one lawmaker is hoping that the policy can be adopted state-wide. Shortly after Sessions rescinded Obama-era guidelines on marijuana enforcement, California Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer said he would revive a bill that would make California a sanctuary state for the marijuana industry.

The legislation would prohibit state and local agencies from cooperating with federal marijuana enforcement without obtaining a court order and presenting it to local authorities. It also prohibits local agencies from sharing information with the feds on state-legal cannabis activities.

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