California Cannabis Voter Guide to November 3, 2020 Election

Visit NORML’s Smoke the Vote Guide and enter in your zip code or address to find Congressional candidates, as well as candidates for the State Senate and Assembly in your district. Some key races are described below. 

Cal NORML is seeking input on local elections and ballot measures that will be voted on in November (actually, starting in October with mail-in ballots). We are interested in knowing candidates’ voting records on marijuana policy reform, and statements they have made about the topic. Send input here.

A partial list of local elections is below.

 

KEY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS

For all districts and to find your district, see the NORML Smoke the Vote guide

8th Congressional District 

In the huge 8th Congressional district stretching from Mono Lake to Twentynine Palms that is being vacated by Paul Cook, Republican Assemblyman Jay Obernolte has taken 36% of the vote, followed by Democrat Chris Bubser with 26.5% and Tea Party Republican Tim Donnelly at 22.3%. Obernolte has a “D” rating from NORML. In 2018, he voted against AB 1793, to expunge past marijuana convictions and also voted against bills to allow for cannabis compassion programs, veterinarians to recommend cannabis, and schoolchildren to use medical marijuana. He did vote yes on a bill (AB2020) to expand places where cannabis events can be held and AJR 27 to ask the DOJ to allow state licensing for cannabis businesses. His opponent, Democrat Christine Busber, has an unknown position on marijuana.

21st Congressional District (Central Valley) 

In District 21, where Democrat TJ Cox narrowly unseated Republican David Valadao in 2016, the two candidates are in a rematch in November. Cox is friendly to marijuana; Valadao voted against every marijuana reform measure and opposes recreational legalization, although he co-sponsored an industrial hemp bill in the CA legislature.

25th Congressional District (Santa Clarita area, LA County)

Democrat Christy Smith lost a special election to Republican Mike Garcia for the seat vacated by Katie Hill in May, but the two will have a re-match in November. Smith has an excellent voting record in the California legislature;

42nd Congressional District (Southwest Riverside county)

Marijuana opponent Ken Calvert (R) will face a challenge from progressive Democrat Liam O’Mara in November. O’Mara’s website says, “The war on drugs was a bad idea from the start, and drug enforcement needs to end – drug addiction is a medical issue, not a criminal one, and I am for decriminalization and amnesty for non-violent users.”

50th Congressional District (San Diego)

In Duncan Hunter’s former district, Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar has the support of San Diego NORML. His opponent, Republican Darrell Issa, has a dismal voting record on marijuana.

53rd Congressional District (San Diego)

This double-Democratic race for Susan Davis’s seat pits San Diego City Council President Georgette Gomez against Sarah Jacobs, who worked in policy positions at the U.S. State Department, UNICEF, and the United Nations in the Obama administration, and was policy advisor to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.

Gomez’s website says, “In Congress, Georgette will fight for treatment programs for non-violent drug offenders, federal legalization of marijuana, eliminate mandatory minimums, end cash bail and increase funding for the FBI’s Civil Rights Division.” Jacobs says, “It’s time for the federal government to de-criminalize cannabis. And we need to make sure that tax money derived from legal cannabis sales go back to rebuilding communities that have been devastated by the drug wars, and that we pardon all those who are in the criminal justice system due to non-violent marijuana-related offenses that would now be considered legal.”

 

KEY STATE SENATE DISTRICTS

Senate District 15 (San Jose)
Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese has the support of local cannabis activists; his opponent is Ann Ravel, an Obama appointee to the Federal Elections Commission.

Senate District 17 (Santa Cruz)
Democrat John Laird is supported by local marijuana reform advocates. He faces Republican Vicki Nohrden.

Senate District 13 (Silicon Valley)
In this seat being vacated by Jerry Hill, Democrat Josh Becker is neck-and-neck with Republican Alexander Glew. Becker had positive, thoughtful responses to Cal NORML’s candidate survey, and favors legalization.

 

KEY STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICTS

Assembly District 13 (San Joaquin)
San Joaquin County Supervisor Kathy Miller against former Supervisor Carlos Villapuda. Miller voted in favor of putting a measure on the ballot to license an unlimited number of cannabis businesses in 2018. Villapuda is endorsed by the California Coalition of Law Enforcement Associations.

Assembly District 25 (Milpitas)
Currently represented by Democratic Representative Kansen Chu, who is terming out. Republican Bob Brunton will face Democrat Alex Lee for the seat, a Democratic stronghold and majority Asian district. Lee, who’s been a legislative policy advisor for the state Senate and Assembly, is affiliated with California Young Democrats and is strongly in favor of marijuana legalization.

Assembly District 34 (Kern)
Incumbent Vince Fong, a Republican, has a poor voting record on cannabis. His challenger is Julie Solis, a member of the pro-cannabis Brownie Mary Democratic Club and the Kern County Democratic Central Committee.

Assembly District 34 (Palmdale)
Incumbent Tom Lackey, is an ex-CHP officer and leading Republican co-sponsor of legislation to legally regulate cannabis with a B+ NORML rating. His opponent, Democrat Steve Fox, had dismal 0% voting record on cannabis issues in 2013-4 legislature; his NORML grade is an F.

Assembly District 37 (Santa Barbara)
The seat is currently held by Democrat Monique Limon, who is terming out and running for state Senate. Democrat Steve Bennett is a Ventura County Supervisor who voted in favor of allowing medical marijuana businesses in 2017. He will face Republican Charles Cole.

Assembly District 57 (Whittier)
This race in a solidly Democratic district pits labor-favored Lisa Calderon against Republican Jessica Martinez.
Calderon is running to succeed stepson Ian Calderon, who followed his father and two uncles into the Legislature. Interest groups dumped more than $2.7 million into the primary race, making it the most expensive independent expenditure battleground in the state.

Assembly District 67 (Lake Elsinore)
Democrat Jerry Carlos faces Republican Kelly Seyarto for this vacant seat that was represented by Republican Melissa Melendez, who has just won a state senate seat (and had a bad voting record). Carlos is a progressive but his position on cannabis is unknown; Seyarto is a 35-year firefighter and mayor of Murietta. In August 2019, Murietta voted to allow for hemp businesses and cannabis testing labs to operate in the city, but continued its ban on any other cannabis businesses.

Assembly District 73 (Dana Point)
Republican and Laguna Niguel Mayor Davies beat current Assemblyman William Brough (R) in this district in March. Laguna Niguel does not permit any type of cannabis business. Her opponent is Scott Rhinehart, who has participated in political advocacy, such as working to defeat The Briggs Initiative, Proposition 8 (the anti-gay ‘California Marriage Protection Act’) and fought to increase funding for HIV/AIDS prevention. “I am also a passionate supporter of full and equal rights for all Americans, particularly worker’s and women’s rights.”

 

 

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