Lackey cites local government, law enforcement concerns on pot bill

Marijuana. Katharine Lotze/Signal
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Law enforcement veteran Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) has changed his vote in favor of a marijuana program bill.

When AB 1578, introduced by Assemblyman Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (D-Los Angeles), went to the Assembly Committee on Public Safety, Assemblyman Lackey voted against it.

Under the bill, the state of California would stop sharing information with the Federal government regarding licensed marijuana stores unless there is a court order to do so. The goal of the legislation is to ensure the Federal government is placing their focus on preventing illegal or “black market” distribution of marijuana instead of looking into licensed businesses.

Lackey’s concern with the bill is the relationship between the Federal government with local government and law enforcement, his office said.

Jones-Sawyer serves as the chair on the Public Safety Committee and Lackey serves as the vice chair. According to Lackey’s office, Jones-Sawyer reached out to him after he voted against the legislation to see how the bill could be changed to work in favor of local government and law enforcement.

With this promise in mind and knowledge the bill would be amended in the Senate, Lackey agreed to vote in favor of the bill on the Assembly floor, according to his Capitol Director Tim Townsend.

“This is a good faith effort by Assemblyman Lackey,” Townsend said.

However, Assemblyman Lackey reserves the right to vote against the bill when it returns to the Assembly after it goes through the Senate if he does not like how it is amended.

“There are going to be negotiations, and if he doesn’t support it, he won’t vote for it when it comes back,” Townsend said.

According to Jones-Sawyer, the bill will continue to change.

“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 and forthcoming regulations,” said Jones-Sawyer in a statement to The Signal.

“I look forward to continuing my work on this pressing issue and I am committed to further clarify that this bill will not prohibit a state or local agency from cooperating with a federal agency in investigating conduct that is illegal under California law.”

Assemblyman Dante Acosta (R-Santa Clarita) voted against the bill on the Assembly floor. When the Assembly voted on the bill on June 1, it received 41 “ayes,” 33 “noes” and six abstains.

Assembly Bill 1578 will go back to the Assembly for final approval in September.


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