A cannabis worker plucks large leafs from a recently harvested indoor cannabis plant.

Rory Savatgy

Berkeley, California Becomes First U.S. Sanctuary City for Cannabis

The Berkeley, California City Council has passed a resolution to make the city the first cannabis sanctuary city in the U.S. The measure, proposed by Mayor Jesse Arreguin and Councilmembers Ben Bartlett and Cheryl Davila, is intended to prevent local law enforcement officials from working with the federal government if they were to crack down on local canna-businesses.

“In light of threats by Attorney General [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.” – Arreguin in a Feb. 13 tweet

The resolution notes that more than $1 trillion has been spent on the federal government’s so-called War on Drugs, which has turned the U.S. into a “nation of mass incarceration … imprisoning 2 million American citizens which represents the highest imprisonment rate of any nation on Earth, representing 25 [percent of] the world’s prisoners.”

“… For 20 years, the City of Berkeley has permitted medical cannabis dispensaries, authorized under state Proposition 215 and local law, to safely delivered medicine to patients. These established businesses have not had a negative impact on the surrounding community or resulted in any increase in crime.” – Feb. 13 resolution “Declaring Berkeley a Sanctuary for Adult-Use Cannabis Customers, Providers and Landlords”

The resolution calls on the local police, the Alameda District Attorney, the county sheriff’s and the state Attorney General “to uphold the laws of the State, and specifically to not assist in the harassment, arrest or prosecution of cannabis landlords, owners, cultivators, distributors, retailers, laboratory testers, or customers who are licensed and attempting to comply” with the city’s approved medical and recreational businesses.

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