What happens now that California passed Bill 1578?
California has taken a major step in ending the War on Drugs. By passing Assembly Bill 1578, California has drawn a line in the sand. While the Justice Department attempts to put a whole new generation of Americans behind bars, California is doing the opposite.
The new legislation basically prevents local and state agencies from assisting federal agencies in prosecuting people that are following state marijuana laws. This despite demands by the Justice Department to renew draconian enforcement of racially biased laws. It’s kinda like California is giving Attorney General Jeff Sessions a big middle finger.
There will almost certainly be a challenge in the courts. ICE and other federal enforcement agencies rely on the ability to offload their work to or acquire intelligence from local agencies. Without those resources, Attorney General Jeff Sessions will have to work harder to destroy hard-working Americans lives.
Who is affected by the change?
Bill 1578 pretty much only people in California are affected right now. But that isn’t guaranteed for long. Depending on how the new law gets handled in the courts, more states may pass similar legislation. Just don’t expect police to go along quietly.
It is possible to challenge the law and get it removed but the likelyhood seems slim. Partly because of the overwhelming support for the measure and partly because of who it protects. City and State workers are already stretched thin and having to do the dirty work for a racially insensitive and politically toxic Justice Department is not something they are excited for.
The new law prohibits law enforcement from “using agency money, facilities, property, equipment, or personnel to assist a federal agency to investigate, detain, detect, report, or arrest a person [and/or transfer them to federal authorities] for commercial or noncommercial marijuana or medical cannabis activity that is authorized by a law in the State of California.”
What does it mean for citizens?
This is one more way to keep people from going to prison. Without the assistance of local authorities, federal prosecutors have to collect their own evidence. It also prevents local and state agencies from having to spend resources on investigating law abiding citizens.
Up till now, business owners, medical patients and commercial growers have all had to watch their back. Federal prosecutors could swoop in and hammer people following the state rules. Even terminally ill patients could be hit with penalties so steep, they might as well have thrown away the key.
Officials warn that police may not be able to uncover wrongdoing as easily once Bill 1578 come online in January. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León responded to the warnings by saying “Our precious local law enforcement resources will be squandered if police are pulled from their duties to arrest otherwise law-abiding maids, busboys, labors, mothers, and fathers,”
He went on to emphasize the cost of not passing this bill. “Trust will be lost. Crimes will go unreported for fear of deportation. Criminals will remain free to victimize others.” Truer words have rarely been spoken.