- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 8, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The California Democratic Party said Wednesday that a staffer did not violate campaign reporting laws by accepting edible marijuana and an e-cigarette filled with hash oil from a lobbyist for the marijuana industry.

The aide, Josh Drayton, works for the party’s Senate Democrats on political campaigns.

Lawmakers and employees of the Senate are subject to gift reporting and limits. However, Drayton is exempt because he is not employed by the Senate but by the party, said Gary Winuk, former enforcement chief at the Fair Political Practices Commission.

BuzzFeed News first reported on the exchange, saying Drayton accepted the gifts at the end of May from a lobbyist with the California Cannabis Industry Association in the presence of a reporter.

The news outlet reported that after accepting the gifts, Drayton said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, needed to learn more about marijuana.

Party spokesman Michael Soller said Drayton has no obligation to report gifts or communications with registered lobbyists because he does not deal with policy.

“He has absolutely no legislative or policy role, has never advised Sen. de Leon nor any legislator on official matters,” Soller said.

He declined to say whether Dayton has a prescription for medical marijuana, which is legal in California.

Drayton declined to comment through the party, and de Leon’s office referred questions to the party.

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