Voters Guide to Drug Policy Reform Candidates
Gov. Jerry Brown has posted a mixed record as Governor. To the disappointment of many fans, he dismissed calls for marijuana legalization with derogatory comments about "unproductive potheads." On the positive side, he signed legislation to expand access to clean syringes by drug users and a 911 Good Samaritan Act to protect callers from prosecution for illegal drug possession. He also vetoed a bill banning dispensaries within 600 feet of residential zones. More ambiguously, Brown vetoed a bill to legalize industrial hemp, but then approved a revised version that was conditioned on federal approval (which may soon be forthcoming thanks to the new federal law allowing hemp for research purposes). On the negative side, Brown has resisted court orders to reduce prison crowding, shocking prison reform advocates by vetoing Mark Leno's bill SB649 to downgrade penalties for possession of narcotics from a mandatory felony to a wobbler (fortunately, voters will have a chance to override him by voting for Prop 47 this November).
Brown's opponent, banking mogul Neel Kashkari, has been touted by the press as a socially liberal Republican, but has echoed Brown's sentiments on legalization, saying that when he "said we don't need a state full of pot-heads, he was right." Kashkari does support decriminalization, but has jokingly proposed mandatory drug testing of legislators.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has distinguished himself by becoming the first state official to openly declare his support for marijuana legalization. Newsom made similar waves as mayor of San Francisco by pushing the envelope for gay marriage, successfully turning the national tide on the issue through the courts. Hopefully, his advocacy on behalf of legalization will enjoy similar success. The state Democratic Party has endorsed it in its platform.
Newsom's Republican opponent, Ron Nehring, has lined up with ex-Congressman Patrick Kennedy's anti-marijuana group SAM ("Smart Approaches to Marijuana") in denouncing legalization and questioning marijuana's value as medicine.
For the first time, the race for this crucial office features a major-party candidate who endorses marijuana legalization: Republican Ron Gold, a little-known former CA Dept. of Justice official. In the last election, incumbent Democrat Kamala Harris barely edged out Los Angeles D.A. Steve Cooley in no small part due to strong support from the medical cannabis community, which Harris had supported as D.A. of San Francisco. Since moving to Sacramento, however, Harris has been notably unhelpful on cannabis issues. doing nothing to challenge federal scheduling or the DOJ crackdown on California's dispensaries. At one point Harris' office quietly proposed a badly conceived update to the Attorney General's guidelines on cannabis collectives, which was thankfully dropped.
In challenging Harris, Gold has made marijuana reform as an important plank of his campaign platform. Gold says that adoption of a Colorado-style legalization law will reduce the cost of law enforcement for vicimless crimes, reduce the incentives for drug cartels, and raise much needed tax revenues. Asked to comment, Harris laughed dismissively and sidestepped the issue. Harris will have to do better if she wishes to retain the pro-marijuana vote this year.
This underlooked state office has an outstanding candidate in Betty Yee, who has championed the legal sale and taxation of marijuana on the Board of Equalization. Yee criticized the federal raids on California's dispensaries when other SF officials and AG Harris were silent and she is supportive of full adult use legalization. In one of the closest races in state history, Yee edged out fellow Democrat John Perez in the primary, thanks to support from the marijuana reform community.
Running ahead of both was Yee's November opponent, the socially conservative Republican mayor of Fresno, Ashley Swearengin, who cheerled the city's sweeping ban on marijuana cultivation. Her husband, Paul Swearingin, is a fundamentalist pastor who among other things preaches the biblically unattested evils of pot. Swearengin's race is getting an influx of cash from out-of-state conservatives; grass roots support is needed to assure Yee is elected.
Secretary of StateSenator Alex Padilla has voted well in the legislature and is looking to be promoted to statewide office.
Insurance CommissionerRepublican candidate and insurance businessman Ted Gaines, who has posted a terrible record in the State Senate, is running against incumbent Democrat Dave Jones, who has expressed sympathies with marijuana legalization.
NO on PROP 46 - Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors, Medical Negligence Lawsuits. This cynical initiative would require random drug testing of all physicians - as if the quality of medical care could be divined by urine samples. In fact, the primary intent of this initiative, which is sponsored by trial lawyers, is to quadruple the limit on medical malpractice awards in California, thereby fattening the purses of its sponsors. The drug testing provision was added as an afterthought by Machiavellian political consultants when it was discovered to test well in public opinion polling. It is testimony to the woeful public ignorance about drug testing that this proposal could be taken seriously as a good way to improve medical care, given there is no good scientific evidence that it is either safe or effective in improving job performance.
The ugly reality is that drug tests are highly over-sensitive to harmless, off-the-job use of marijuana, but highly insenstive to the number one drug of abuse, alcohol - not to mention a host of dangerous synthetic drugs, such as the marijuana substitute "Spice," which isn't tested at all. Perversely, Prop 46 defines "drug" to include marijuana metabolites, which are entirely non-psychoactive, but not THC, marijuana's primary active component. Worse yet, Prop 46 makes no allowance for medical use of marijuana.
Given the evidence that medical marijuana actually helps reduce drug abuse deaths, and that studies have failed to show a benefit in drug testing heath care workers, this initiative deserves a resounding "No" from the electorate. California's physicians (and other workers as well) deserve the right to use marijuana in their private lives. Sadly, Prop. 46 has been endorsed by some poorly informed consumer advocates, such as Sen. Barbara Boxer and Erin Brockovich, but it has also drawn deserved criticism from the press for its deliberately misleading title, which was approved by Attorney General Harris. In the end, though, the race is apt to come down to a high-priced fundraising contest between doctors and trial lawyers.
YES on PROP 47 - Criminal Sentences - Misdemeanor Penalties. Sponsored by Californians for Safe Neighborhoods and Schools, Prop. 47 would reduce penalties for certain non-violent crimes, including drug possession, from felonies or wobblers (optional felonies or misdemeanors) to misdemeanors. The result would be to de-felonize simple possession of cocaine and heroin, which are now mandatory felonies, as well as other controlled substances like methamphetamine and LSD, which are wobblers. Hashish and concentrated cannabis, which are also wobblers, would likewise be de-felonized, but not marijuana, since it is already an infraction or misdemeanor. Prop. 47 also de-felonizes a variety of non-violent property crimes, such as minor theft, shoplifting and forgery.
The measure allows prior offenders to apply for a change in their records from felony to misdemeanor status, provided that they haven't also been convicted of violent or serious priors. Prop 47 is an expanded version of a drug sentencing bill sponsored by Senator Mark Leno and S.F. District Attorney George Gascon, which was approved by the legislature but vetoed by Gov. Brown. According to the legislative analyst, Prop. 47 would affect some 40,000 offenders annually and save the state hundreds of millions of dollars in enforcement costs.
Marijuana and drug reform aren't prominent issues in this year's races for state legislature or Congress. Among the handful of competitive legislative contests in California, just a few feature substantial differences over drug policy. See the voting record of California's Congressional Delegation.
California's Congressional delegation has tended to vote well, in line with growing voter sentiment for reform. Support has been most solid amongst Democrats, especially in the Bay Area, where Rep. Barbara Lee (Oakland) and Sam Farr (Monterey) have been leading sponsors of reform bills. On the Republican side, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (Huntington Beach) has emerged as his party's leading advocate for marijuana reform in Congress. In a landmark victory for medical marijuana, Rohrabacher teamed up with Farr to sponsor a budget amendment blocking funds for the Department of Justice to interefere with state medical marijuana laws, which won by the surprising margin of 219-189.
This session also witnessed the historic passage of a bill legalizing the cultivation of industrial hemp for research purposes, which passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Obama.
Other, stronger reform bills were introduced but failed to advance due to continued resistance from the conservative Republican leadership of Speaker John Boehner, abetted by whip-turned-majority leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield. The prospect for decisive reform would be greatly improved were the Democrats to win a majority, in which case the speakership would return to San Francisco's Nancy Pelosi, who has declared medical marijuana to be a "really important" priority. However, chances of a Democratic majority are negligible in this off-year election.
1st Congressional District - Oroville/N.E. California Long time prohibitionist incumbent Doug La Malfa says : "I think the further legalization of marijuana will be something that comes back to bite us in future years, and so any measure that would continue to keep it as a controlled substance I would support." His opponent, Democrat Heidi Hall, says, "I'm very concerned that by not addressing the issue at all we are promoting the theft of water for these huge, illegal grows in forested lands, we're seeing toxics go into our waterways, we're promoting a gun culture and we're not taking advantage of the tax income ..."
3rd C.D. - Davis/Marysville. Incumbent Democrat John Garamendi has posted a good voting record in Congress. His opponent, Republican Assemblyman Dan Logue of Chico, has voted his party's anti-drug line in Sacramento, thumping the tub for a crackdown on water-guzzling pot growers while pushing for more water for thirsty agribusiness.
5th C.D. - Napa. Independent candidate James Hinton, who describes himself as a social libertarian, is advocating legalization of marijuana and rolling back of the prison/industrial complex in his long-shot challenge to incumbent Democrat Mike Thompson. Thompson, who has represented marijuana growing regions of Northern California for many years, has an OK voting record but has shied away from actively supporting marijuana legislation, preferring instead to champion the wine industry, in which he has business interests.
7th C.D.- Rancho Cordova/Roseville - In this closely contested district, incumbent freshman Democrat Ami Bera has posted a commendable voting record and supports medical marijuana. Bera is opposed by former Republican Congressman Doug Ose, a vocal drug warrior misleadingly touted as a "moderate" on social issues. Despite styling himself as "pro-choice" Ose is anything but pro-choice in drugs, having called for federal closure of California's cannabis clubs and attacked medical marijuana as a "sham."
8th C.D. - Apple Valley/Yucaipa/Barstow - Incumbent Republican Paul Cook has consistently voted wrong; he is being challenged by Democrat Bob Conaway, who supports regulating and taxing marijuana.
10th C.D. - Modesto/Manteca - Incumbent Republican Jeff Denham is a social conservative with an atrocious voting record; his Democratic opponent will be Michael Eggman, who is endorsed by marijuana advocates.
12th C.D. - San Francisco - Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi is the most powerful supporter of medical marijuana in Congress. If Democrats were to regain the majority and re-elect her speaker, it would open the door for legislative action on reform bills that have been bottled up by the conservative Republican leadership, but this is unlikely in 2014. Although Pelosi is a cinch to win in San Francisco, her opponent, libertarian Republican John Dennis, is a strong advocate of civil liberties, drug reform and marijuana legalization.
17th C.D. - San Jose / Santa Clara - Veteran incumbent Democrat Mike Honda has posted a strong pro-reform record in both Congress and the state legislature, co-sponsoring the States' Medical Marijuana Protection Act and the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act. Honda is facing a rematch against Democratic challenger Ro Khanna, a Silicon Valley entrepreneuer whose views on drug issues are unknown.
26th C.D. - Ventura Co. - First-term Democrat Julia Brownley has voted well in Congress, while her opponent, Republican Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, has voted poorly in Sacramento.
31st C.D. - San Bernardino - In the race to replace retiring Rep. Gary Miller, Republican anti-drug activist Paul Chabot, the founder of Drug Free California, is running as an out-and-out drug warrior. Chabot will face Democrat Pete Aguilar, who is endorsed by local reform advocates, in the November election.
45th C.D. - Irvine. Democrat Drew Leavens favors legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana. He is opposed by Republican Mimi Walters, who is on DPFCA's State Senate Hall of Shame list.
52nd C.D. - San Diego First-term Democrat Scott Peters has voted well in Congress. His opponent, gay Republican ex-City Councilman Carl DeMaio, supports medical marijuana if implemented with "safeguards and proper enforcement," but was frequently at loggerheads with local medical marijuana activists over regulating dispensaries in San Diego. He favors getting the feds out of medical marijuana enforcement and leaving matters to the states.
Although many incumbents will not be running for re-election on account of term limits, the balance of power in Sacramento is not expected to swing dramatically this election. Although Democrats have held close to a veto-proof 2/3 majority, this has not greatly affected legislation, as many new Democrats come from moderate swing districts where public opinion on drug issues is divided. Due to term limits, the Assembly will lose its leading champion of marijuana reform in Tom Ammiano (D-SF), who sponsored a pathbreaking adult use legalization bill in 2009 and as chair of of the Public Safety Committee has ably blocked bad legislation. Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), who has five terms left, is emerging to replace him as the Assembly's lead champion of cannabis reform. In the State Senate, no great changes are likely, as veteran reform champions Sen. Mark Leno (D-SF) and Public Safety Committee chair Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) both have two years left in office.
As a rule, Democratic legislators are more inclined to support drug and criminal justice reform than Republicans. Although Republican opposition has been softening, as seen in the bi-partisan support for Mark Leno's hemp bill, the party leadership remains strongly beholden to the state's prohibitionist law enforcement lobby. This can be seen in the aggregate vote totals: altogether, Republicans voted 50-130 against drug reform measures, while Democrats voted 351-54 in favor. As a result, not a single Republican state legislator is on DPFCA's honor roll. In contrast, the state Democratic party has officially endorsed marijuana legalization in its platform; nonetheless, the Assembly's so-called "moderate" Dems remain skittish or hostile. Several of them are listed in DPFCA's hall of shame below.
Assembly Honor Roll 2013-4
Gold Star - Perfect Voting Record
|a17||Ammiano||Tom||D||San Francisco||Termed Out|
|a78||Atkins||Toni||D||San Diego||Up for Re-Election|
|a50||Bloom||Richard||D||Malibu||Up for Re-Election|
|a18||Bonta||Bob||D||Oakland||Up for Re-Election|
|a51||Gomez||Jimmy||D||E. Los Angeles||Up for Re-Election|
|a24||Gordon||Richard||D||Los Altos||Up for Re-Election|
|a41||Holden||Chris||D||Pasadena||Up for Re-Election|
|a59||Jones-Sawyer||Reginald||D||S. Los Angeles||Up for Re-Election|
|a10||Levine||Marc||D||San Rafael||Up for Re-election|
|a70||Lowenthal||Bonnie||D||Long Beach||Termed Out|
|a22||Mullin||Kevin||D||San Mateo||Up for Re-Election|
||Van Nuys||Up for Re-Election|
|a09||Pan||Richard||D||Sacramento||Running for Senate Dist 6|
|a20||Quirk||Bill||D||Hayward||Up for Re-Election|
|a63||Rendon||Anthony||D||Lakewood||Up for Re-Election|
|a29||Stone||Mark||D||Santa Cruz||Up for Re-Election|
|a19||Ting||Philip||D||South S.F.||Up for Re-Election|
|a79||Weber||Shirley||D||Lemon Grove||Up for Re-Election|
|a25||Wieckowski||Bob||D||Fremont||Running for Senate Dist 10|
Assembly Hall of Shame
Color code: Voted 100% Wrong / Voted Wrong Except on Hemp Bill
|a72||Allen||Travis||R||Fountain Valley||Up for Re-Election|
|a05||Bigelow||Franklin||R||Angels Camp||Up for Re-Election|
|a08||Cooley||Ken||D||Carmichael||Up for Re-Election|
|a36||Fox||Steve||D||Palmdale||Up for Re-Election|
|a06||Gaines||Beth||R||Roseville||Up for Re-Election|
|a21||Gray||Adam||D||Merced||Up for Re-Election|
|a34||Grove||Sharon||R||Bakersfield||Up for Re-Election|
|a73||Harkey||Diane||R||San Juan Capistrano||Running for Board of Equalization, District 4|
|a60||Linder||Eric||R||Mission Viejo||Up for Re-Election|
|a03||Logue||Dan||R||Chico||Running for Congress Dist. 3|
|a67||Melendez||Melissa||R||Murrietta||Up for Re-Election|
|a66||Muratsuchi||Al||D||Torrance||Up for Re-Election|
|a42||Nestande||Brian||R||Riverside||Running for Congress Dist. 36|
|a12||Olsen||Kristin||R||Modesto||Up for Re-Election|
|a23||Patterson||Jim||R||Fresno||Up for Re-Election|
|a31||Perea||Henry||D||Fresno||Up for Re-Election|
|a56||Perez||V Manuel||D||Coachella||Termed out|
|a65||Quirk-Silva||Sharon||R||Fullerton||Up for Re-Election|
|a32||Salas||Rudy||D||Bakersfield||Up for Re-Election|
State Senate Honor Roll
Gold Star - Perfect Voting Record
|s15||Beall||Jim||D||Campbell||Not up for Election in 2014|
|s39||Block||Marty||D||San Diego||Not up for Election in 2014|
|s10||Corbett||Ellen||D||San Leandro||Termed Out|
|s24||De León||Kevin||D||Los Angeles||Up for Re-Election in SD 22|
|s07||DeSaulnier||Mark||D||Walnut Creek||Running for Congress Dist 11|
|s09||Hancock||Loni||D||Berkeley||Not up for Election in 2014|
|s22||Hernandez||Ed||D||West Covina||Up for Re-Election in SD 24|
|s13||Hill||Jerry||D||Palo Alto||Not up for Election in 2014|
|s40||Hueso||Ben||D||Imperial - San Diego||Up for Re-Election|
|s19||Jackson||Hannah-Beth||D||Santa Barbara||Not up for Election in 2014|
|s11||Leno||Mark||D||San Francisco||Not up for Election in 2014|
|s25||Liu||Carol||D||Glendale||Not up for Election in 2014|
|s26||Mitchell||Holly||D||Culver City||Up for Re-Election|
|s17||Monning||Bill||D||Santa Cruz||Not up for Election in 2014|
|s20||Padilla||Alex||D||Van Nuys||Running for Secretary of State|
|s08||Yee||Leland||D||San Francisco||Termed Out|
State Senate Hall of Shame
(Voted wrong except on hemp bill)
|s36||Anderson||Joel||R||Alpine/S.D.Co.||Running for re-election in SD 38|
|s16||Berryhill||Tom||R||Modesto||Up for re-election|
|s12||Cannella||Anthony||R||Merced||Up for re-election|
|s18||Fuller||Jean||R||Bakersfield||Up for re-election|
|s01||Gaines||Ted||R||Redding||Running for Insurance Commissioner|
|s29||Huff||Bob||R||Chino - Fullerton||Not running 2014|
|s21||Knight||Steve||R||Victorville||Running for Congress Dist 25|
|s23||Morrell||Mike||R||Rancho Cucamonga||Not running 2014|
|s04||Nielsen||Jim||R||Oroville||Up for re-election|
|s37||Walters||Mimi||R||Laguna Hills||Running for Congress Dist 45|
Legislative Races of Interest
FREMONT/SAN JOSE Senate District 10 - Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski (D), who has posted an excellent voting record in Sacramento, placed first in the primary for Senate and will face Republican Peter Kuo in November.
FREMONT Assembly District 25 -San Jose City Councilman Kansen Chu has likened cannabis businesses to prostitution and pushed to ban them from the city. Chu placed first in the primary with 30.4% of the vote and will face Republican Bob Brunton in November.
EAST L.A./WEST COVINA Senate District 24: Democratic challenger Peter Choi is calling for marijuana legalization and amnesty for non-violent crimes in his race against incumbent Democratic Senate leader Kevin De León, who has himself voted well in the legislature.
L.A./HOLLYWOOD/CULVER CITY Senate Dist. 26: Democrat Sandra Fluke stood out as the only candidate in the primary to advocate legalizing marijuana for adult use. Fluke ran second to Democrat Ben Allen in the primary, and the two will face off in November.
ONTARIO/CHINO/SAN B'DINO Senate Dist. 20: Republican tea-party candidate Matt Munson supported Prop 19 and openly advocates regulating marijuana like wine. The views of his opponent, Connie Levya, are unknown.
SACRAMENTO/ROSEVILLE A.D. 06 - Incumbent Republican Beth Gaines, a social conservative with a terrible voting record, is facing opposition from Democrat Brian Caples, who supports medical marijuana. The two will face off in this November's election.
SACRAMENTO A.D. 07 - Democratic City Councilman Steve Cohn, who has been favorable to medical marijuana ran second to Democrat Kevin McCarty in the primary, and the two will face off in November's election.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY Senate Dist. 38 - Patient advocates endorse Democrat Frank Tsimboukakis over incumbent Republican Joel Anderson, who has had a terrible voting record on medical marijuana. Anderson currently represents SD 36, but is trying to move to SD 38.
SAN FRANCISCO A.D. 17 - Outgoing Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has endorsed Supervisor David Campos, a former public defender and vigorous advocate for the city's marijuana dispensaries; Campos will face fellow Democratic Supervisor David Chiu, who has likewise been supportive, if not as outspoken, in the November election.
Butte County: Cannabis Cultivation - No on A, Yes on B - Cannabis advocates are backing a referendum to repeal a restrictive cultivation ordinance passed by the Board of Supervisors, Measure A, and replace it with a more liberal one, Measure B. Measure A limits outdoor gardens to 50 square feet on parcels less than 5 acres, with a maximum of 150 square feet on 10 acres or more. Measure B uses plant numbers instead, allowing 6 mature/12 immature plants on parcels over 1/2 acre, and scaling up to 99 plants on 40 acres or more. It also requires complainants to identify themselves as residing within 1,500 feet of the property affecte so as to discourage undue harassment. The differences between the two measures may seem baffling to most voters. Advocates of Measure B argue that reasonable regulations are fine, but that A goes overboard; opponents are portraying B as a power play by marijuana growers.
Lake County: Marijuana Cultivation Yes on Measure O - Having narrowly voted 51.6% - 48.4% to approve a restrictive cultivation ordinance, Measure N, last June, Lake voters face two additional cultivation measures this November. Measure O, the Medical Marijuana Control Act, sponsored by the Emerald Unity Coalition, would repeal Measure N, which banned outdoor cultivation on parcels less than one acre and set a 6 mature/12 immature plant limit on larger parcels with a maximum 48 mature plants on agricultural parcels of 20 acres more. Measure O would increase the limits to four outdoor plants on residential parcels less than one acre and up to 48 plants on residential properties of 5 acres or more, with fencing and setback requirements. It would also establish a Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division, funded by a $50 per plant fee on gardens larger than 12 plants. A competing initiative, Measure P, the Freedom to Garden Human Rights Restoration Act, is sponsored by hemp activist Ron Kiczenski. Measure P sweepingly declares that residents have a fundamental right to grow natural plants exempt from county ordinances and permits if they take "reasonable care to prevent environmental destruction." It would apply only to personal use, not commercial gardening.
Nevada Co. YES on Measure S - Medical marijuana cultivation initiative sponsored by patient advocates would liberalize the county's restrictive cultivation rules to allow 100 sq feet for indoor cultivation anywhere; allow up to 6 mature/12 immature outdoor plants on parcels of two acres, scaling up to 60 mature/99 immature on over 30 acres; eliminate minimum distances from school bus stops, school evacuation sites, and mobile home parks, etc.; eliminate fencing and security requirements, garden height limits, notarized consent from owners, and other pettyfogging rules.
Weed - The town of Weed in Siskiyou county will have two measures on the ballot: Measure K asks voters in Weed whether outdoor medical marijuana grows should be banned. Measure L asks, "Shall the City of Weed permit the licensing and operation of one or more medical Marijuana dispensaries?" Both measures are non-binding, wrote Robert Winstead, the city attorney, in his analysis of each item.
Oakland: The Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance (OCLA) has endorsed the following candidates for supporting safe access to cannabis: Mayor: Rebecca Kaplan and Libby Schaaf; City Council District 2: Dana King Rank #1, Abel Guillen Rank #2; City Council District 6: Desley Brooks
Berkeley: OCLA endorses City Council District 7: Kriss Worthington; City Council District 4: Jesse Arreguin
SAN JOSE Mayor: Cannabis advocates strongly prefer mayoral candidate Dave Cortese to Sam Liccardo, who has been pushing for drastic cutbacks in the number of dispensaries.
Santa Ana Dispensary Initiatives - Yes on Measure CC: Two competing measures are on the ballot to allow medical cannabis dispensaries in the city. Measure CC, backed by Orange County cannabis activists, would authorize a minimum of 22 dispensaries, with a 2% sales tax. Measure BB a more restrictive alternative sponsored by the City Council,, has no minimum number of dispensaries, a 5% tax, a 21-year age limit, plus various security and operational regulations not in CC. If both are approved, the measure with the most votes wins. While advocates are campaigning for CC, they aren't actively opposing BB, as either one would be an improvement on the present situation, where dispensaries are theoretically banned but operating anyhow outside the law.
Santa Cruz County Cannabis Business Tax Measure K - Would impose a 7% business tax on gross receipts of cannabis businesses in the unincorporated county, with a 10% maximum rate allowed. Sponsored by board of supervisors, no opposition filed.
Santa Cruz City Cannabis Business Tax Measure L - Would impose a 7% business tax on gross receipts of cannabis businesses in the city, with a 10% maximum rate allowed. Sponsored by city council, no opposition filed.
Shasta County NO on Measure A Cultivation Restrictions - Referendum sponsored by local cannabis advocates on Shasta County's stringent cultivation ordinance banning outdoor grows, prohibiting cultivation in homes, and limiting other grows to 12 plants in an enclosed separate structure, among other excessive restrictions. A "No" vote would repeal the ordinance.
Shasta Lake City Cannabis Business Tax Measure C would impose a 6% business tax on medical marijuana collectives, with a maximum cap of 10%. Sponsored by city council, no opposition filed.
Blythe Authorize, Regulate and Tax Medical Cannabis Businesses Measure Z. Measure to authorize and regulate medical cannabis businesses, with a maximum $10,000 fee per license, a business tax of 15% revenues, and a cultivation tax of $10 per square foot.
Cathedral City Medical Cannabis Collective Tax Measure N would authorize the city to impose a business tax not exceeding 15% on the revenues of medical cannabis collectives.
Desert Hot Springs Cannabis Cultivation Tax Measure HH would impose an annual tax of $25.00 per square foot for the first 3,000 square feet cultivated and then $10.00 per square foot for the remaining space utilized in connection with the cultivation of marijuana for either medical or adult use.
Desert Hot Springs Medical Marijuana Tax Measure II would impose a 10% tax on sales of marijuana for medical or adult use.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY
Encinitas Yes on Measure F Dispensary Ordinance Medical marijuana regulation initiative sponsored by patient advocates to authorize dispensaries in the city and establish reasonable rules for their operation, with a 2.5% sales tax on transactions. Endorsed by San Diego County Democratic Party, Libertarian Party, S.D. Young Democrats and S.D. Democratic Women's Club.
La Mesa Yes on Measure J Dispensary Ordinance Medical marijuana regulation initiative sponsored by patient advocates to authorize and establish rules for medical cannabis dispenaries in the city; would also impose a 2.5% sales tax on their transactions. Endorsed by San Diego County Democratic Party, Libertarian Party, and Chicano Democratic Association.
Judges are supposed to be impartial. Most judicial races aren't between candidates, but rather ask the voter to elect or re-elect the judge, or not. Consequently, almost all judges are re-elected.
This year's ballot asks about re-election for two California Supreme Court Justices. Goodwin Liu has a good voting record on marijuana: In the disastrous Riverside opinion, he alone authored a separate concurrence to try to temper some of the needless dicta Justice Baxter inserted into the opinion of the Court. Liu recently voted in favor of reviewing the Live Oak decision allowing cities and counties to ban medical marijuana cultivation altogether, as did Kathryn Werdegar. However, Werdegar wrote the Court's opinions in the Mentch case and in Raging Wire, which allows employers to fire medical marijuana patients. Her record is mixed. Law professor Mariano-Florentino Cuellar is up for election to the Court. He's a lifelong Democrat who graduated from Harvard and Yale, and worked in two presidential administrations: Clinton's and Obama's. He is described as being "distinctly to the left of center."
First District Court of Appeal Justice Martin Jenkins was U.S. District Court judge in the Raich case. In that capacity he demonstrated himself to be lacking in empathy and compassion towards medical marijuana patients, and was eventually overruled by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Third Appellate District Judges Elena Duarte, Louis Mauro and Andrea Hoch ruled against MMJ patient cultivation rights in the Maral decision.
Cal NORML attorneys like Daniel Flores for San Francisco Superior Court judge. He is a former criminal defense attorney as well as a former civil attorney.