Drug Policy Forum of California Dedicated to news of interest to the California drug reform community


June 2012 State Primary Election Guide

US Senate:
            Whatever  else might be said for her, Sen. Dianne Feinstein has been an unrelenting prohibitionist when it comes to drug policy.  A critic of Prop. 215 as well as all things marijuana,  Sen. Feinstein has refused to address California's interest in changing federal medical cannabis laws, and has instead used her position on the Senate Judiciary Committee to back tougher  anti-drug laws.   As chair of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control,  she has promoted the drug war abroad as well as at home.  
             Feinstein faces no major opposition, but among the 24 candidates vying for the run-off,  Democrat David Levitt  deserves note for challenging her on the drug issue  as well as on peace and civil liberties. Levitt's website specifically calls for ending marijuana prohbition. Though Levitt is a political neophyte, so are other challengers in the race.  A strong protest vote for Levitt would be a message that Californians are fed up with the bankrupt drug war politics of their last-century senior senator.  Under California's newly adopted "top two" rule, the top two vote-getters in the primary face a run-off in November, regardless of whether they are from the same party.

Congressional Races


Congressional  Gold Star Honor Roll: 

The following California Congress members are co-sponsors of Rep. Barney Frank's Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act (HR 2306), which would repeal federal prohibition and let states determine their own marijuana policy.

            Barbara Lee (D-Oakland)
            Mike Honda (D-Cupertino/Santa Clara/Milpitas)
            Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach)
            Pete Stark (D-Fremont)

Silver Star Honor Roll:

The following members co-sponsored the  States' Medical Marijuana Protection Act  (HR 1983), to let states  legalize and regulate medical marijuana.

            Sam Farr (D- Monterey)
            Bob Filner (D-San Diego – running for Mayor)
            Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose)
            Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach)
            Pete Stark (D-Fremont)
            Mike Thompson (D-Santa Rosa/Napa)
            Lynn Woolsey (D-Marin – retiring)

Honorable Mention:

The following members have co-sponsored  other  cannabis reform bills this session.
            Tom McClintock (R-Granite Bay)
            Linda Sanchez (D-Cerritos)
            Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks)
            Nancy Pelosi (as minority leader, Rep. Pelosi doesn't co-sponsor bills, but has shown leadership in criticizing the federal attack on medical marijuana)

CD 01 – Northeast (Redding):

            Jim Reed (D) supports medical marijuana and patients' rights. His Republican opponents Sam Aanestad and Doug La Malfa had terrible voting records.

CD 02 – North Coast: 

      The state's prime growing region boasts several attractive candidates:
            Norman Solomon (D), a noted progressive peace activist, advocates legalizing and regulating marijuana on his website.
             Assemblyman Jared Huffman  (D) cast the deciding vote in committee in favor of Tom Ammiano's landmark  bill to legalize, tax and regulate cannabis. http://www.jaredhuffman.com/
            Dr. Bill Courtney (D), a political neophyte, is well known among North Coast activists as a practitioner and advocate of medical cannabis. http://courtneyforcongress.org
            Stacey Lawson (D), a businesswoman, told a Humboldt County forum: "Marijuana is the basis for 1/3 to 2/3 of the economy of our District. The past norms come from a different culture; we should tax and regulate it. We should preserve small local growers and not large corporate growers. The environmental damage caused by growing could be better controlled if it were legal." http://staceylawson.com/

CD-07 – Roseville / E. Sacramento

            Rep. Dan Lungren (R) http://www.danlungren.com/, ex-Attorney General and notorious arch-enemy of Prop 215, faces a tough challenge from  Dr. Ami Bera (D), who is well-regarded by local MMJ activists http://www.beraforcongress.com/

CD 13 –  Alameda/Hayward/Fremont

            Rep. Pete Stark (D-Fremont) has been a leading Congressional critic of the war on drugs and has consistently co-sponsored cutting-edge  reform bills. http://www.petestark.com/.     Stark is under fire on account of his age and bad temper.  His chief opponent,  Dublin City Councilor  Eric Swalwell (D), is an ex-prosecutor with more conservative  tendencies.  http://www.swalwellforcongress.com

CD 30 – LA – San Fernando Valley

            Two incumbent Democrats are facing each other in this redrawn district.
            Rep. Brad Sherman has co-sponsored medical marijuana legislation, such as Rep. Stark's bill HR 1985  to let cannabis dispensaries take normal deductions for business expenses.   http://bradsherman.com/
            Rep. Howard Berman has been more reticent despite his position on the powerful Judiciary Committee. http://www.howardberman.com

CD 33 - Malibu –Santa Monica – Beverly Hills

            Two legalization advocates are taking on veteran Rep. Henry Waxman http://www.henrywaxmanforcongress.com/, who has voted decently but has not used his formidable Congressional power over health care issues to actively support MJ reform.
            LA NORML Director Bruce Margolin (D) is appropriately listed on the ballot as a "marijuana legalization attorney." http://margolinforcongress.com/
            Libertarian Steve Collett was a leading sponsor of the "Regulate Marijuana Like Wine" Initiative, which failed to make this year's ballot. http://electcollett.com/

CD 48 – Huntington Beach – Newport Beach –Laguna Beach

            Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has distinguished  himself  as the leading Republican advocate of legalization in California.

CD 52 – Downtown  San Diego - Poway

            Candidate Lori Saldaña (D) posted a solid pro-reform voting record in the State Assembly http://lori4congress.com/.  The incumbent, Brian Bilbray (R), has towed the prohibitionist line of his party, although his daughter Brianna is a vocal patient advocate for medical cannabis. http://bilbrayforcongress.com/

State Legislature  & Local  Races

State Sen. Dist 13 – San Mateo/Peninsula

            Ex-Assemblywoman Sally Lieber (D) had a good voting record in the legislature during 2002-8  http://www.sallylieber.org/.  Current Assemblyman Jerry Hill  (D-San Mateo) has sometimes cast problematic votes, such as opposing de-felonization of marijuana cultivation. http://www.jerryhillforsenate.com

State Sen. Dist. 15 – San Jose

            As chair of the Select Committee on Alcohol and Drug Abuse,  Assemblyman Jim Beall (D) has supported  humane, harm-reduction  approaches  to drug policy. http://www.jimbeall.com/

Assembly Dist  20 – Hayward – Union City – Castro Valley

            Hayward City Councilman Bill Quirk has been a vocal, active advocate for legal access to medical marijuana. http://electbillquirk.com/

Alameda Co. Supervisor -  District  4 (E. Oakland /Castro Valley)

            Supervisor Nate Miley has been a stalwart friend of medical marijuana and also  endorsed Prop. 19. http://www.mileyforsupervisor.com/  His opponent,  Tojo Thomas, is a deputy probation officer with a cautious, NIMBY view toward dispensaries. http://www.tojo2012.com/

Los Angeles Assembly District 50 - Miracle Mile, W. Holywood, Beverly Hills, Malibu

Torie Osborn (D), Brad Torgan (R) and Richard Bloom (D) all support legalizing marijuana for adults according to a survey by the Santa Monica Daily Patch. Betsy Butler, (D), does not. Butler, who currently sits in a different Assembly seat, failed to vote for Tom Ammiano's bill AB 1017 to reduce penalties for marijuana cultivation, which failed for lack of support, though she did vote for his medical marijuana regulation bill AB 2312.

Los Angeles District Attorney

Medical cannabis advocates are unanimously opposed to City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, who has been an implacable foe of dispensaries. At the other end of the spectrum, John Breault III openly supports legalization though he is a long-shot in the race. Among the top tier candidates, Danette Meyers says she supports regulated, licensed dispensaries so long as they are run on a non-profit basis. Other candidates who have indicated approval of regulated dispensaries include Bobby Grace and Alan Jackson. Like Trutanich, Jackie Lacey believes over-the-counter sales of medical marijuana are illegal.

San Diego Mayor

            Rep. Bob Filner, who posted a laudable voting record on cannabis issues in Congress, is running for Mayor of San Diego http://www.bobfilnerformayor.com/.  His opponents include notorious D.A. Bonnie Dumanis, who pursued a tough line prosecuting medical cannabis providers. http://bonnieforsandiego.com/ and councilman Carl De Maio, who opposed cannabis at every turn on the city council.

San Diego Supervisor District 1 (Imperial Beach, Cironado, Chula Vista, National City)

Democrat Brant Will states on his blog that he supports safe access to medical marijuana in communities where patients live. His opponent, incumbent Republican Greg Cox, voted to enact the county's extraordinarily strict dispensary regulation scheme, which makes it extremely hard to locate dispensaries except in the most remote areas of the county.


 Butte County Measure A – Cultivation Ordinance Referendum (NO)

            After Butte County patient advocates successfully  petitioned to block a highly restrictive ordinance against medical marijuana cultivation, the Board of Supervisors voted to put the measure up to the voters.   Measure A declares all cultivation of marijuana to be an unlawful  nuisance,  unless the property is larger than 1.5 acres and has been specifically registered with the County.    Measure A violates patients' rights under Prop. 215.  Butte Citizens for Compassionate Use is leading the campaign against Measure A.  Vote NO. http://ccubuttecounty.com/

Kern County Measure G – Medical Marijuana Regulation  (NO)

            The Kern County Board of Supervisors put this highly restrictive  measure on the ballot after  local activists successfully petitioned to block a total  ban on dispensaries.  As a result of the  referendum, the county presently has no dispensary ordinance.   Measure G was designed to restrict patient collectives  to remote, inaccessible corners of the county.  Kern patient advocates say Measure G is a scam – vote no. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C93b8-VL9D4

Lake County Measure D – Medical  Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance  (YES)

            Patient advocates designed this measure to establish workable guidelines for marijuana cultivation in Lake County. Measure D treats cannabis as an agricultural crop and permits from 12 to 84 plants per parcel, depending on the property size.  Measure D is sponsored by Lake County Citizens for Responsible Regulation, which  advocates cultivation in "a manner that is environmentally sustainable, beneficial to the local economy and respectful of the community." http://www.c4rr.org/