Recent Announcements

  • San Diego County Medical Marijuana Voters Guide – 2016 General Election

    [Printable Version]


    U.S. President - No endorsement

    This presidential race is strange - very, very strange. But when it comes to the question of marijuana, neither major party candidate has made marijuana policy a strong part of their platform.  Hillary Clinton has been a tepid supporter, having made some strong statements in favor of rescheduling on the campaign trail, but with no concrete history of prior support.  Both third party candidates, Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, have been champions on this issue, but neither stand a chance of winning.

     Republican candidate, Donald Trump, has taken a similar approach to marijuana as he has on other issues – his position has been completely inconsistent. He previously called for legalization of all drugs, then said he did not support the legalization of marijuana, then he claimed to support medical marijuana. 

    For more information on where the presidential candidates stand on marijuana, check out the report card published by the marijuana policy project:

     U.S. Senate-  Loretta Sanchez (D)

    Two Democratic candidates are competing for the seat of retiring Sen. Boxer. Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Orange County has been a consistent supporter of medical marijuana over the years. Since joining the House in 1997, she has compiled a near perfect voting record on marijuana and drug reform issues, the longest such record of any Southern California Democrat. Asked in a debate about what the she would do in Washington to reduce crime in California, she replied, “First of all, I believe that we need to get the federal government to get marijuana off of schedule one.” At times, Sanchez has a tendency to let her tongue outrace the bounds of political discretion. When interest in legalization first heated up in California, she suggested that the state explore a pilot program of legalized, regulated marijuana, but quietly retreated after getting zero support from her colleagues.

    Attorney General Kamala Harris is staunchly progressive, but cautious when it comes to marijuana. As A.G., she did disappointingly little on behalf of medical marijuana, rebuffing requests to join other states in filing a rescheduling petition with the federal government. More seriously, Harris failed to speak up against the federal crackdown on dispensaries in California, despite the fact that as former District Attorney of San Francisco she should have known that the city’s dispensaries were working well and the federal charges against them were bogus. Running for re-election, Harris waved off a question about legalization with a laugh, but later said she is “not opposed” to it and even sees it as “inevitable”. Speaking recently at the Democratic convention, Harris called the war on drugs “a failure” and called for ending the federal ban on medical marijuana. Most likely Harris would vote well enough in the Senate, but her lack of leadership in the state has been troubling.

    California 49 - Doug Applegate (D)

    Darrell Issa, the sitting congressional representative in this district has been terrible on the issue of medical marijuana access.  He has voted against every federal legislation to relieve federal prosecution of medical marijuana patients.  He openly advocated for the DOJ crackdown on state MMJ laws.   Doug Applegate is a strongest challenger.  Anyone would be a better option than Darell Issa, we urge you to vote for Doug Applegate.

    California 50 - Duncan D. Hunter (R, Incumbent)

    Duncan Hunter has consistently voted for pro-medical marijuana legislation.  He also co-sponsored the “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2015”, the “CARERS Act” and “Charlotte's Web Medical Access Act of 2015” and for this, he has earned our endorsement.

    California 51 - Juan Vargas (D, Incumbent)

    Incumbent Congressman Juan Vargas has not been vocal on the issue of medical marijuana, but his voting record in congress has been consistently positive. We hope he becomes more vocal in the future.

    California 52 - Scott Peters (D, Incumbent)

    Incumbent congressman Scott Peters has been consistently voted for the rights of medical marijuana patients.  He also has actively engaged with the local medical marijuana community, sending representatives to local meetings of Americans for Safe Access and openly advocating for patients’ rights. He also co-sponsored the “Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015”.

    California 53 - Susan Davis (D, Incumbent)

    We are endorsing Susan Davis for Congress because she has consistently voted for pro-access legislation in Congress.  That said, she has not been a vocal advocate, nor has she cosponsored any bills in favor of medical marijuana access or patients.  We would like to see her to more in the future.  


    Senate, District 39 - Toni Atkins (D)

    Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins has been a staunch supporter of medical marijuana patients’ rights and the end of marijuana prohibition since long before her time in the California State Legislature.  She championed the medical marijuana regulation and safety act, and has consistently voted in favor of legitimizing medical marijuana access. We endorse her for state senate.

    Assembly, District 71 – No Endorsement

    The incumbent Assemblymember, Brian Jones, has a very mixed record when it comes to supporting medical marijuana legislation in the state legislature.  His opponent is also anti-access, and openly oppose safe access in the district.  With no good options, we suggest sitting this race out.

    Assembly, District 75 - Andrew Masiel (D)

    Incumbent Marie Walderon has been, at best, a mixed bag on medical marijuana issues, and voted against access as a councilmember of Escondido.  We suggest taking a gamble on her opponent Native American Andrew Masiel. 

    Assembly, District 76 – Thomas Krouse (R)

    Incumbent Assemblymember Rocky Chavez has a consistent anti-marijuana voting record.  His opponent, Thomas Kraus, has been outspoken in his support for medical marijuana and has attended local Americans for Safe Access meetings as part of his campaign.

    Assembly, District 77 - Melinda Vásquez (D)

    Progressive candidate Melinda Vazquez is running against the incumbent Brian Maienschein, who has a fairly poor record in regards to medical marijuana access and patient support. Melinda Vasquez has committed to supporting safe access for medical marijuana patients.

    Assembly, District 78 - Todd Gloria (D)

    Todd Gloria has been a staunch supporter of medical marijuana patients and rights during his time a councilmember in San Diego City and we look forward to him continuing this work in the State Legislature.

    Assembly, District 79 -Shirley Weber (D, Incumbent)

    We strongly support incumbent assembly member Shirley Weber for re-election.  She has been a strong supporter of medical marijuana patients’ rights and, as an African American woman, she has been quick to highlight the use of drug laws to persecute the African American community in California.  Shirley Weber, keep up the good work!

    Assembly, District 80 - Lorena Gonzalez (D, Incumbent)

    Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez is a passionate and dedicated assembly member who is not afraid to advocate very vocally, and very strongly, for the causes she feels most passionate about. And while she has consistently voted for medical marijuana access, we wish that she would adopt this issue as one of her core priorities, because she could be one heck of an advocate in the state assembly.  We recommend voting for Lorena Gonzalez, and we recommend that patients and advocates continue to work with her and speak to her about the urgency and importance of this issue.


    San Diego Community College Board, District D: Alyce Pipkin-Allen 

    Southwestern Community College Board, Seat 3: Roberto C. Alcantar 


    County Board of Supervisors, District 3: Dave Roberts (D, Incumbent)

    Incumbent Dave Roberts has not been the advocate could be on this issue.  We wish he would have the courage to be when it comes to medical marijuana access. That said, he also helped squash the calls for a permanent ban on medical marijuana access in the county in the recent round of votes.  Without him there, the situation may have been a lot worse.    His opponent, Kristin Gaspar, is an outspoken prohibitionist who have fought medical marijuana in previous positions.  Therefore, while we are not overly enthusiastic about Dave Roberts, his re-election is a top priority to ensure continued medical marijuana access in unincorporated San Diego County.

    Carlsbad City Council: Cori Schumacher (D)

    Coronado City Council: No Endorsement

    Chula Vista City Council, Seat 3: Steve Padilla (D)

    Steve Padilla has long been outspoken in his support of medical marijuana and has shown a willingness to meet with and listen to advocates as part of his campaign.

    Chula Vista City Council, Seat 4: Rudy Ramirez (D)

    Rudy Ramirez has made closing unlicensed dispensaries part of his campaign for Chula Vista City Council, which gives us great concern in endorsing a candidate. That said, he has also been consistent in his rhetoric that he wishes to replace them with licensed, regulated, access. We hope he makes good on this promise.  We support patient access in Chula Vista, but we recognize that the current system of unlicensed shops operating until the city acts against them is not sustainable and regulated access is the preferable solution.  Unfortunately, the Chula Vista City Council has, for years, refused to take any pro-active stance on regulating marijuana, their latest act being to ban dispensing and personal cultivation entirely. If candidate Ramirez continues to push for regulated access as part of his platform, he will continue to have our support.

    Del Mar City Council: No Endorsement

    El Cajon City Council: No Endorsement

    Encinitas Mayor: Catherine Blakespear

    When we were running the Citizens for Patient Rights campaign to allow medical marijuana access in Encinitas, Catherine Blakespear was running for city council for the first time.  And, while she was not an advocate, she did not choose to demonize marijuana dispensaries to appeal to NIMBY voters, a common political tactic in Encinitas.  She was respectful of our campaign and was willing to listen. We found her to be extremely thoughtful on other matters of local policy and we believe she will fairly consider the issues of Encinitas patients. 

    Her opponent, Paul Gaspar, is the husband of the current Encinitas mayor, Kristen Gaspar, who has been an active opponent of safe access. He has made no indications of being any friendlier to patient access than his wife and predecessor.

    Encinitas City Council: No Endorsement

    Escondido City Council, District 3: No Endorsement

    Escondido City Council, District 4: No Endorsement I

    Escondido Treasurer: No Endorsement

    Imperial Beach City Council: No Endorsement

    La Mesa City Council: Colin Parent

    Lemon Grove Mayor: George Gastil or Raquel Vasquez

    Lemon Grove City Council: David Arambula

    National City City Council: Luis Natividad

    Oceanside City Clerk: No Endorsement

    Oceanside City Council: No Endorsement

    Oceanside Treasurer: No Endorsement

    San Diego City Attorney: Mara Elliott

    City Attorney candidates Mara Elliot and Robert Hickey both addressed the medical marijuana community at a forum held be the Association of Cannabis Professionals in September.  They both were sympathetic to patients’ right, but we were struck by their vastly different visions for the office.  When asked the question, “How would marijuana rank as a priority for you as a city attorney” they gave very different answers.  Robert Hickey said that enforcement of marijuana laws would not be a top priority of his administration, because he wanted to focus on clear-cut crimes with a community impact – violent crimes and property crimes, not busting stoners.  Mara Elliot, however, said that marijuana would be a top priority for her administration, because with the new marijuana laws coming down from the state, she wanted to make sure that San Diego was in full compliance with these laws, properly licensing local businesses and that the city received its fair share of taxes for marijuana law implementation and environmental mitigation.


    We prefer Mara Elliot’s response, because it reflects a more accurate understanding of the role of the city attorney as a civil law enforcer and implementation interpreter. We want the city to be pro-active in its implementation of medical marijuana licensing and to receive all possible resources from the state to implement these efforts.  If adult use marijuana is to become a reality, we hope the city will also embrace this legislation and be pro-active in its implementation.


    We think that Robert Hickey is a solid candidate for a different office. Robert Hickey’s philosophy for legal prosecution – prosecuting clear cut crimes, especially those with a tangible victim, based on established law, is a welcome change to District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’s crusade of criminalization of communities of color and victimless crime. We hope that he runs for District Attorney in the next cycle, we would be very inclined to support him.


    San Diego City Council District 1: Barbara Bry

    Ray Ellis, Barbara Bry’s opponent in District 1 has conceded, but his name is still on the ballot. This should matter to the medical marijuana community because Ray Ellis believes that marijuana is a gateway drug, while Barbara Bry believes in the medicinal potential of marijuana.  San Diego City Council will continue to revise its medical marijuana regulations in the future and sympathetic councilmembers will be key.  Therefore, we urge you to vote for Barbara Bry.

    San Diego City Council District 9: Georgette Gomez OR Ricardo Flores

    There are two candidates running in District 9 - Ricardo Flores and Georgette Gomez. Ricardo Flores and Georgette Gomez, accepted the invitation to speak at the meeting of the association of Cannabis Professionals.  Georgette Gomez was the most knowledgeable regarding local policy at the meeting.  Ricardo did however, did commit to doing the research to learn the details of the local zoning policy, and proceeded to correspond and further discuss these policies and his vision to enact better policies with ACP leadership and members in the following weeks.

    Whomever wins, we are confident that we will have a safe access advocate in District 9.

    Solana Beach City Council:  David Zito

    Vista City Council: No Endorsement


    Prop. 52, Extends Medi-Cal Funding: YES

    We are a patients’ rights organization, and while we focus on marijuana medicine, we believe in safe, regulated and affordable access to all medicine for sick Californians. Medi-Cal funding will allow access to medicine.

    Prop. 57, Allows Parole for Nonviolent Inmates: YES

    Far too many nonviolent inmates in California are serving time for marijuana related convictions.  Proposition 57 would get them out of jail.

    Prop. 62, Replaces Death Penalty with Life Sentence: YES

    Citizens for Patient Rights is a patient justice organization, and the proposition 62 addresses criminal justice.  Far too many death penalty convictions are found to be erroneous for us to trust that the courts judgement is infallible.  Unfortunately, when it comes to the death penalty, if the penalty, and the prisoner, are executed, there is no way to undue this error. 

    Like marijuana convictions, the sentences are not applied equally across society, in the case of both marijuana and death penalty convictions, people of color are for more likely to be subject to prosecution, despite being a minority of those committing crimes that qualify for the death penalty, or using marijuana.

    Moreover, the death penalty is a costly burden on our prison system, much like marijuana convictions, with segregated death penalty prison areas benefiting for profit prisons and prison unions, which in turn lobby to make, and keep, more acts illegal, like marijuana use and possession.

    Prop. 64, Regulates Adult Marijuana Use: YES

    The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, to legalize adult use marijuana, has been controversial in the cannabis community.  We have heard two basic arguments against this proposition.

     The first is that it has the potential to put small growers out of business by allowing large grows and growers in the market. The logic behind this argument is that small growers would not be able to compete.  We do not buy this argument.  Marijuana is an artisanal plant product. More so than with almost any other agricultural product, medical marijuana patients are obsessed with the quality of each individual plant. A large outdoor operation will never be able to duplicate the quality of a marijuana cultivated in a controlled, indoor environment, and consumer demands for quality will only increase.  Therefore just as there continues to be demand for artisan grown tomatoes, strawberries and other produce, we see no reason why there will not continue to be demand for artisan farmed marijuana.  What may occur is that prices of marijuana, in general, will decrease, and while some growers may see this as a problem, as a patient advocacy organization, we believe that lower overall prices of marijuana will allow for better access for the patient community.  

    The second argument we have heard, that Proposition 64 will criminalize patients, simply does not reflect the reality of this initiative.  Under this initiative, every single marijuana related act, with the exception to sales to minors will be less subject to significantly lower penalties with personal use and commercial activity with a license becoming legal activities.  The majority of actions that would today result in a felony – sales, distribution and cultivation without a license, would be misdemeanors under the new law. Sales, cultivation distribution and cultivation licenses will be granted to allow for the regulated commercial sale of adult use marijuana.  Proposition 64 strengthens patient protections granted by Proposition 215, by making marijuana consumption legal - a vast improvement over the affirmative defense currently allowed under state law.  Moreover, marijuana will no longer be a determining factor in child custody battles, and patients around the state will benefit since jurisdiction will be forced to allow personal cultivation of up to six plants per household, where today there is a ban on any medical marijuana cultivation in the majority of California cities.

    We share the opponents concern with the 15% excise tax for marijuana cultivation, since this tax will also effect medical marijuana. However, this initiative gives the state legislature the opportunity to adjust these taxes, and we will be lobbying for this tax to be lowered, if this Proposition is to pass.

    Proposition 64 will get patients out of jail and stop patients from going to jail in the future.  It will lower the commercial price of marijuana, and it will fund further research into the medical benefits of marijuana. 

    No proposition is perfect, but the big picture improvements are well worth the smaller issues that we have identified.

    This will be a huge leap forward for patients and society. We urge you to vote “Yes” on Proposition 64.

    Prop. 66, Removes Legal Safeguards for Inmates: NO

    Proposition 66 would remove avenues for death penalty inmates to challenge their sentences.  It would leave prisoners with less avenues for justice.  With marijuana being a factor in so many convictions, we believe that every legal protection available must be afforded to all inmates in the state.


    Measure N, Lets City Tax Marijuana if Legalized: YES

    Measure N would allow San Diego City to place an 8% - 15% tax on adult use marijuana in San Diego City. We support this measure for a few reasons. Firstly, by pre-emptively taxing adult use marijuana the city council would be providing itself with an incentive to license adult use marijuana, something that is only optional under Proposition 64, and we are in favor of Adult Use licensing.

    Moreover, by specifically excluding medical marijuana from their proposal, the City of San Diego recognizes medical marijuana patients as a protected class. This respect for medical marijuana patients and their rights is unique among California cities and should be encouraged.

    We are concerned that a potential 15% gross tax on adult use marijuana could be high enough to encourage a black market, so we hope that the city chooses not to tax at this level, but for the reasons state above, we endorse Measure N.

    Measure U, Allows La Mesa Medical Marijuana Activity: YES

    Citizens for Patient Rights is proud to be the sponsoring committee of Measure U which would allow medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation and manufacturing in appropriate commercial and industrial zones in La Mesa. 

    Measure V, Allows Lemon Grove Medical Marijuana Dispensaries: YES

    Citizens for Patient Rights is proud to be the sponsoring committee of Measure U which would allow medical marijuana dispensaries in appropriate commercial and industrial zones in La Mesa.  

    Posted Nov 1, 2016, 1:08 AM by Cynara Velazquez
Showing posts 1 - 1 of 50. View more »

The Science of Medical Marijuana