United States: Berkeley, California declares itself a sanctuary city for recreational cannabis
Friday, February 16, 2018
On Tuesday, the city council of California adopted by unanimous vote a resolution declaring their city a "sanctuary" for adult recreational cannabis use and sale. The resolution by the Berkeley council "declared [the City of Berkeley] to be a sanctuary for recreational cannabis customers, providers, and landlords.",
The resolution bars city employees including police from assisting federal law enforcement officials, namely the U.S. , in enforcing federal laws relating to cannabis. The city's measure includes protection for cannabis, but not other substances controlled and regulated by the federal government. California voters approved a in 2016 that legalized cannabis production and sale in the state. That law took effect on January 1 this year.
The resolution was drafted by Mayorand Councilmembers Ben Bartlett and Cheryl Davila.
While cannabis became legal for adults at least 21 years old under California state law, it remains a prohibited substance under the federal. Under the , federal law is given supremacy to contradictory state and local law.
In 2008, the city previously declared itself a sanctuary city for medical cannabis, opposing federal officials seeking to shutter legal-in-California cannabis dispensaries.
In a tweet following the vote, the Berkeley mayor wrote, "In light of threats by [Jeff] Sessions regarding a misguided crackdown on our democratic decision to legalize recreational cannabis, we have become what may be the first city in the country to declare ourselves a sanctuary city for cannabis." The attorney general is the top federal law enforcement official in the U.S.
Last month, Sessions repealed a policy from the previous presidential administration providing legal shelter to states that legalized recreational cannabis. A January 4 memo from Sessions called forprosecutors to enforce the federal ban on cannabis use and sale.
By another vote during the same meeting the city council reduced the sales tax on cannabis from 10 percent to 5 percent in a bid to draw more business.
- Sarah Parvini. "Berkeley declares itself a sanctuary city for recreational cannabis — and it may be the first to do so" — , February 14, 2018
- Kimberly Veklerov. "Berkeley cuts its cannabis tax rate in half to attract, keep businesses" — , February 14, 2018
- Berkeley City Council. "Declaring Berkeley a Sanctuary for Adult-Use Cannabis Customers, Providers, and Landlords" — , February 13, 2018
- Jesse Arreguin. "Jesse Arreguin on Twitter" — , February 13, 2018
- Annie Ma. "Berkeley City Council votes to become sanctuary city for cannabis, likely a first" — , January 13, 2018
- Annie Ma. "Berkeley could rebuff feds with sanctuary law for cannabis" — , February 12, 2018
- Jeff Sessions. "Justice Department Issues Memo on Marijuana Enforcement" — , January 4, 2018