SACRAMENTO- Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) introduced a bill Thursday to designate the California Highway Patrol as the lead state law enforcement agency for investigating black market cannabis activity as legal sales are slated to begin next year.
“California is about to embark on the biggest experiment in cannabis policy in our nation’s history. Whether the federal government will take action against our state remains a major question,” Lackey stated in a news release. “If we want to avoid intervention from the federal government, we need to do everything we can to crack down on illegal activity and prevent cannabis from being exported out of state. Without a central point for coordinating action statewide, accomplishing this will be a huge challenge.”
While the state agencies issuing cannabis business licenses do have some enforcement authority, California has designated no state law enforcement agency for shutting down illegal operators.
“Failing to combat the black market will undercut the cannabis operators who go through the expense and difficulty of becoming legal businesses,” Lackey added. “Furthermore, it undermines public safety through continued criminal activity. Enforcing the rules of our new legal system must be a top priority.”
Lackey’s bill, Assembly Bill 1733, will be considered by the State Legislature early next year.
The state will begin accepting applications for marijuana licenses on Jan. 1, 2018.
[Information via news release from the office of Assemblyman Tom Lackey.]