Pubdate: Mon, 29 Aug 2016
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2016 The Sacramento Bee
Author: Christopher Cadelago


California politicians have traditionally opposed legalizing 
marijuana. In 2010, amid fierce debate about the pot legalization 
measure Proposition 19, every statewide elected official expressed 
disapproval. In more recent years, officials have suggested they 
wanted to wait to see how legalization played out in other states.

Proposition 64, a recreational marijuana initiative on the fall 
ballot, is generating a slight thaw in political perspectives on 
legalizing the drug. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a candidate for governor 
in 2018, is the measure's highest-ranking supporter. But still many 
others remain undecided or in opposition.

Here's a rundown of what some top officials have said about the 
initiative, or legalization more generally:


Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in June bemoaned the "abject failure" of the 
"War on Drugs."

"It's a war on the poor and it's a war on folks of color, and it's 
got to end. And the only way you end it is by going to the most 
destructive and the most ineffective component of that war, and that 
is the war on cannabis."

At an event in July, Newsom said his wife was persuaded to 
potentially support pot legalization after he showed her an article 
about teen use decreasing in Colorado.

"That was one point of emphasis that I have been making to her: It's 
still illegal (for those under 21) to use cannabis. We are not 
changing that ... As a parent myself I express a similar concern, and 
that's why I (put a review process of the issue) together so early."

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa, in May made the conservative 
case for legalization.

"Our current marijuana laws have undermined many of the things 
conservatives hold dear  individual freedom, limited government and 
the right to privacy."

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, in July said as a prosecutor his 
guiding principles are to uphold the rule of law and protect the most 
vulnerable citizens.

"Scientists and health care professionals believe that keeping 
marijuana illegal is unjustified. Prosecution of marijuana violations 
clog our already overburdened courts and cost hundreds of millions of 
dollars annually to enforce."


U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein in July reiterated her belief that pot 
should be illegal, saying California's measure is "substantially 
different" from legalization measures in other states.

"It rolls back anti-smoking advertising protections we've had for 
decades and allows marijuana smoking ads in prime time, on programs 
with millions of children and teenage viewers."

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said he hasn't yet seen enough 
evidence from Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington to change his mind.

"It's a gamble that's going to have a big effect on our communities. 
We haven't even begun to see the true long-term impacts in other 
states that have done this."

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne-Marie Schubert in May said 
the measure has a loophole that will allow convicted drug dealers to 
be eligible to receive a recreational marijuana license.

"I have spent much of my career advocating for the well-being of our 
children. This initiative will endanger the most vulnerable members 
of our community."

Undecided/No position

Gov. Jerry Brown has not commented on the measure, nor has he taken a 
position. Brown in January joked about marijuana legalization and a 
separate measure, Proposition 63, cracking down on ammunition sales. 
"All I would say is, 'Don't smoke marijuana when you're using your 
gun,' " Brown told reporters.

Brown two years ago on NBC's "Meet the Press" said he worried about 
legalizing recreational marijuana.

"The problem with anything, a certain amount is OK. But there is a 
tendency to go to extremes. And all of a sudden, if there's 
advertising and legitimacy, how many people can get stoned and still 
have a great state or a great nation? The world's pretty dangerous, 
very competitive. I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a 
day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together." 
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Jerry Brown on pot and guns

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer said through a spokesman that she is still 
studying the results from the states that have legalized marijuana 
and has not come to a conclusion yet. In June, Boxer appeared on 
"Real Time With Bill Maher," and said she was "leaning in favor" of 
Proposition 64.

"There's just one issue that's a serious one I am looking at, which 
is worrisome from Colorado and Washington state where they have seen 
. driver fatalities go up. But, there is something in the initiative 
that does address it. So, I am hoping that I'll be able to support it 
this time."

Treasurer John Chiang said he supports the private legal use of 
cannabis by adults and at this point leans in favor of Proposition 64.

"However, it must be properly regulated with the appropriate 
transparency, including adequate disclosure of THC content and 
adulteration. Local governments should be able to place appropriate 
limits on the location and density of outlets. Furthermore I want to 
ensure that safeguards are in place to protect minors from access and 

Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon said he remains undecided on 
marijuana legalization.

"I'm not there yet. I don't know if I'm behind the times in 
comparison to other folks, but I still have my concerns. I have yet 
to make a final determination where I will stand as an individual 
citizen on this issue."

Kevin de Leon has concerns about marijuana legalization initiative

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said he planned to review the 
initiative during the final recess.

"I generally support the decriminalization of adult marijuana use. 
With regard to Prop. 64, I will review the specific provisions of the 
measure after the Assembly completes its work next week and take a 
position on it sometime thereafter."

Controller Betty Yee in June noted she has been a supporter of 
medical cannabis.

"I am still examining what the regulatory framework would be if 
marijuana is legalized for recreational use."

Attorney General Kamala Harris does not take positions on ballot 
measures, citing her office's role in preparing their titles and 
summaries. But Harris, a candidate for U.S. Senate, is generally 
supportive of legalization, which she believes is inevitable given 
the current climate.

"There is a whole concern about how we would detect to determine 
impairment for the purposes of legal or illegal driving. Those are 
real details and I take seriously when weighing in on a subject such 
as (this) that we have thought through the details."

Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, a possible candidate for 
governor in 2018, in July said he doesn't have a position on 
marijuana legalization.

"We've talked about it. It isn't something that I have thought of as 
the critical issue of 2016, to be fair."

Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones 
have not taken a position or commented on the legalization measure. A 
representative for former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa did 
not respond with a comment.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom