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Massachusetts Could Become a Pot Sanctuary

A bill in the state legislature would protect cannabis users from federal enforcement, not unlike sanctuary policies for immigrants.
A woman attends a rally in front of the Massachusetts State House in Boston in December 2016, objecting to delay in opening retail marijuana stores.
A woman attends a rally in front of the Massachusetts State House in Boston in December 2016, objecting to delay in opening retail marijuana stores. Michael Dwyer/AP

On Friday, Massachusetts State Representatives Dave Rogers and Mike Connolly filed an unusual piece of legislation. Their bill, called the “Refusal of Compliance Act,” would prevent local and state authorities from handing over people who follow state cannabis laws to federal agents unless those agents have a warrant. (Massachusetts legalized recreational marijuana in 2016.) The legislation has the same skeleton as many “sanctuary” immigration policies, which eliminate much of the voluntary cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agents.

Massachusetts is already a sanctuary state in immigration terms. Now, it appears to be expanding that definition to include marijuana.