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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
wins, we are confident that we will have a safe access advocate in District 9.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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 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.
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
Created by Citizens for Patient Rights, sponsored by the Association of Cannabis Professionals, ID# 1338342, 315 S. Coast Hwy 101 #34 , Encinitas, CA 92024. Made in-house volunteer labor. Not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate.