California looks to boost marijuana, block immigration jails

California looks to boost marijuana, block immigration jails
credit:420 Intel

California lawmakers voted Thursday to set rules for the state’s nascent marijuana industry and to quash the growth of federal immigration detention as part of a $125 billion state budget lawmakers approved for the next fiscal year.

Lawmakers sent Gov. Jerry Brown a measure merging the state’s longstanding medical marijuana law with the much more permissive rules voters approved last year to legalize pot sales to people 21 and older. The state will develop standards for organic marijuana, allow pot samples at county fairs and permit home deliveries.

The Legislature also backed a measure to limit new beds for immigration detention, dealing a blow to the Trump administration’s efforts to boost deportation. The measure prevents local governments from signing or expanding contracts with federal authorities for immigration detention facilities. It also calls for the state’s attorney general to review conditions at the centers.

The marijuana and immigration provisions are pieces of a one-year budget plan that increases money for education and social services while imposing new financial restrictions on the University of California following a scathing audit. It cleared the Assembly and Senate mostly along party lines with only a handful of Republicans in support.

Brown, a Democrat, has called the budget “balanced and progressive.” Legislative Democrats said it would help alleviate poverty while building up savings for a future economic downturn.

“This is a budget that does things for people, not to people,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. “With this budget we keep our promises to students, patients and voters… In this budget we will protect what we have gained and we will persist in moving forward.”

Republicans blasted unrelated measures tucked into the budget, including a plan to change the rules for removing lawmakers from office, which could benefit a Democratic Orange County senator facing a recall. They said the budget fails to adequately prepare for a recession and reneges on promises to voters, who last year approved a tobacco tax increase intended to improve access to health care.