Read about more races at NORML’s Smoke the Vote Guide
|• Statewide Offices|
|• Key Congressional Races|
|• Key State Senate Races|
|• Key Assembly Races|
|• Local Races|
|• Local Measures|
Gavin Newsom for Governor – winning with 57.9% of the vote
Newsom signed all the major cannabis reform bills that came to his desk in 2022, including those protecting employment rights and pain patients’ rights. He has been criticized for not pushing hard enough to reduce burdensome taxes and regulations on cannabis, but as part of this year’s state budget, he signed legislation to eliminate the cannabis cultivation tax and support equity businesses.
His opponent Sen. Brian Dahle voted badly on every key cannabis rights bill in 2022, including workers’ rights and expanded access to medical cannabis. When he was in the Assembly, he supported legislation to regulate medical marijuana but generally opposed penalty-reduction bills. His campaign advocates re-establishing the defunct Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement to crack down on drug traffickers.
Rob Bonta for Attorney General – winning with 57.2% of the vote
Bonta has long been a strong friend and supporter of and reasonable voice for cannabis law reform. In 2015, he was one of the Assemblymembers who drafted a set of bills that licensed and regulated medical cannabis, and he repeatedly worked to lower taxes on cannabis in the legislature. In 2018, Asm. Bonta authored Cal NORML’s employment rights for medical marijuana users bill, and introduced AB 1793, which passed into law, creating an automatic pathway for Californians to have criminal convictions for cannabis-related offenses removed or reduced from their records. As AG, Bonta has worked with county officials to expedite the expungement process and conducted a six-month review of the interagency CAMP (Campaign Against Marijuana Planting) program, announcing he would retool it as EPIC (Eradication and Prevention of Illicit Cannabis) to focus on human trafficking and environmental crimes around illicit cannabis grows.
Bonta is running against Republican Nathan Hochman, an Assistant US Attorney who prosecuted “narcotics traffickers and violent gang members.”
Fiona Ma for Treasurer – winning with 57.1% of the vote
In her capacity as state treasurer and former member of the Board of Equalization, Fiona Ma has done her best to support the state’s legal cannabis economy. She has actively sought out ways to surmount federal obstacles to safe banking for California’s cannabis businesses. She also has the economic sense to recognize that the tax burden on cannabis businesses is too high to compete with the illicit market. Although her efforts have unfortunately been stymied by forces beyond her control, she deserves an “A” for trying.
Alex Padilla for Senator – winning with 59.1% of the vote
As a state senator, Padilla voted to support employment protections for medical cannabis patients and opposed DEA raids on cannabis companies.
As Secretary of State after California’s 2016 vote to legalize recreational marijuana, Padilla helped implement legalization by licensing cannabis businesses and creating an online portal to help migrate the state’s legacy medical cannabis companies into the new regulation area. To promote that service, Padilla appeared in a public service announcement with comedian Cheech Marin.
Padilla has expressed support for the federal MORE Act to end federal marijuana prohibition. In 2021, he filed an amendment that would allow veterans to access medical cannabis through the VA system in states where it is legal, and require the VA to research the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis for certain conditions. In May 2022, Padilla joined a bipartisan effort requesting that congressional leadership include the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2021, which would allow state-legal cannabis business to access banking services.
Padilla’s Republican opponent, Mark Meuser, is better than most US Senators of his party. He authored an op-ed on “Why Republicans should support descheduling marijuana” in the Orange County Register: “Our founding fathers did not want the federal police force. It is time that we return power to the states and deschedule marijuana now.” Unfortunately, though, so long as Meuser’s party is led by Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate will likely set back the cause of federal marijuana reform, as both McConnell and the great majority of his partisan colleagues have long opposed legalization.
KEY CONGRESSIONAL RACES
California is in the process of redistricting, and these candidates are running in newly drawn districts, which will be finalized once they are elected and inaugurated in 2023.
Kermit Jones for Congressional District 3 (Placer County and portions of Sacramento, El Dorado and Yuba counties, including Rocklin, Roseville and Folsom, Lake Tahoe and much of the Eastern Sierra Nevada, including Plumas, Sierra, Nevada, Alpine, Mono and Inyo counties) – losing with 46.9% of the vote
Trump-endorsed Kevin Kiley voted against all pro-cannabis measures in the Assembly in 2018 (except SB 829, to protect cannabis compassion programs for indigent patients), while opposing expansion of cannabis events, veterinary use, and medical access for schoolchildren.
Moderate Democratic candidate Dr. Kermit Jones is a former Navy flight surgeon and Iraq veteran “brimming with thoughtful proposals on health care, wildfire resilience and more” (Sacramento Bee.) Dr. Jones is also a lawyer, and was a White House fellow during the Obama administration. His Health Care Plan would “decriminalize certain drug offenses and encourage rehabilitation programs as an alternative to incarceration.”
Ami Bera for Congressional District 6 (Rancho Cordova, Citrus Heights, parts of Sacramento) – winning with 55.8% of the vote
Beri is a medical doctor who worked with AIDS patients and supports medical marijuana. He opposed Prop. 64 to legalize recreational use in California in 2016, but has voted twice in favor of the MORE Act to legalize recreational cannabis at the federal level, as well as co-sponsoring the SAFE Banking Act, and voting to allow VA doctors to recommend medical cannabis for veterans, and preventing the Justice Department from prosecuting medical cannabis patients and providers.
Kevin Mullin for Congressional District 15 (South San Francisco, Redwood City) – won
Mullin has an “A” Rating on NORML’s “Smoke the Vote” guide and a great voting record on cannabis in the state legislature. His opponent is David Canepa, a San Mateo County supervisor, for this seat being vacated by Rep. Jackie Speier.
Christy Smith for Congressional District 27 (Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita) – losing with 45% of the vote; has not conceeded though her opponent has declared victory
Democrat Smith posted a good voting record in the Assembly, following the party’s progressive leadership and focusing on educational issues. She lost two close elections to her opponent Republican Mike Garcia in this district, which has since been redistricted more favorably to Democrats. Garcia has made a point of denouncing illegal marijuana growers and dispensaries. He criticized Gov. Newsom for cutting taxes on marijuana, but not gasoline. He twice voted against the MORE Act to legalize marijuana, but did vote for the SAFE Banking Act.
Will Rollins for Congressional District 41 (NW Riverside Co., Palm Springs) – Calvert has won “unexpectedly tough” reelection
For years this district has been represented by fundamentalist Republican Ken Calvert, who has an abysmal record on cannabis and drug issues. The addition of liberal Palm Springs to the district opens the door for a challenge by Democrat Will Rollins, who supports the MORE Act, descheduling, criminal justice reform, and personal bodily freedom.
Mike Levin for Congressional District 49 (Dana Point) – has widened lead to 5 points.
Levin, who has an excellent voting record, faces a tough re-election campaign against conservative Republican Brian Maryott.
KEY STATE SENATE RACES
Dave Jones for State Senate District 8 (Richmond/Fairfield/Solano County)
Jones has been a strong supporter of cannabis reform since his days in the Assembly. As State Insurance Commissioner, he was one of the few public officials to endorse Prop 64.
Aisha Wahab for State Senate District 10 (Hayward)
Wahab, the Democratic party’s pick and a progressive darling, vies for this open seat being vacated by term-limited Bob Wieckowski. She seeks to become the first Afghan woman elected to state office in California, and is a Hayward city councilmember. She has the support of organized labor, Attorney General Rob Bonta and Wieckowski.
KEY STATE ASSEMBLY RACES
Liz Ortega for Assembly District 20 (Hayward) – winning with 58.6% of the vote
Labor leader Ortega is endorsed by outgoing Assemblyman Bill Quirk, a champion of cannabis reform in the legislature.
Tom Lackey for re-election to Assembly District 34 (Apple Valley, California City, Barstow, Big Bear Lake, Twentynine Palms and parts of Hesperia, Highland, Lancaster, Palmdale, Victorville) – winning with 57.9% of the vote
Lackey, a Republican and former CHP officer, co-sponsored legislation to license medical cannabis businesses in 2015. While supportive of medical access, in 2016 he opposed Prop. 64 to legalize recreational marijuana. Nonetheless, he has posted a good voting record in recent years. He sponsored bills to foster cannabis research, and worked with reform advocates to turn his DUI bill into a CHP task force, on which Cal NORML sat.
In this newly drawn district, Lackey will face Thurston Smith, who this year introduced a pair of bills to criminally or civilly penalize cannabis gardens as small as seven plants, a move seen as grandstanding in a region where Republican congressmen are making similar bluster. However, his office seems to have heard Cal NORML’s objections and his bill AB 2728 was softened somewhat, removing the seven-plant mention.
Christy Holstege for Assembly District 47 (Palm Springs) – winning with 55.1% of the vote
The Democratic mayor of Palm Springs, one of the most cannabis-friendly communities in the state, Holstege has been supportive of the city’s cannabis development. She describes herself as a “social justice attorney.” claims to be the only openly bisexual mayor in the U.S., and is endorsed by LGBTQ and pro-choice groups.
As the Chief District Advisor for retiring Republican-turned-Independent Assemblyman Chad Mayes, her opponent Greg Wallis is said to favor the moderate views of his boss, who posted a moderately good voting record in the legislature. He is endorsed by the Riverside County Sheriffs Association.
Read about more federal and state races at NORML’s Smoke the Vote Guide
Caity Maple for Sacramento City Council – District 5
Maple worked to pass the cannabis Home Delivery Protection Bill SB 1302 (Lara – 2018). She now works as legislative director for the Perfect Union cannabis company.
Ken Carlson for Contra Costa County Supervisor – District 4
Carlson has a law enforcement background but his mother was a hospice nurse. He served 10 years on Pleasanton City Council and is supportive of medical marijuana.
Brian O’Toole and Laura Patch for Walnut Creek City Council
These pro-cannabis candidates appeared at a Contra Costa NORML event in October.
Terry Wiley for Alameda County DA – winning with 51.7% of the vote
“Terry Wiley is a mensch,” writes Cal NORML Legal Director Bill Panzer. “I’ve had nothing but good dealings with him for many years. Very reasonable and compassionate.”
Rebecca Kaplan for Alameda District 3 Supervisor – losing with 44.9% of the vote
Kaplan has been a leading advocate of cannabis reform measures during her tenure as an Oakland City Councilwoman and Vice Mayor, most recently sponsoring a resolution to support Cal NORML’s employment rights for cannabis users bill. Her election would create a cannabis-friendly majority on the Board of Supervisors.
Sheng Thao for Oakland Mayor – Endorse as Sole Vote (no 2nd or 3rd choice) – coming in 2nd with 29%
In 2019 Sheng worked to try to lower cannabis tax rates, whereas her opponent Loren Taylor was the ringleader at keeping cannabis business tax rates excessively high. Her opponent Ignacio de la Fuente lead a vigorous effort 15-20 years ago to destroy the so-called Oaksterdam District in the Uptown area and to eliminate as many cannabis businesses as he could.
Trish Spencer for Alameda Mayor
Spencer, a city councilperson and former mayor of Alameda—a breast cancer survivor and strong pot partisan–is running against the current mayor, Marilyn Ashcraft, who is anti-pot (begrudgingly accepting of its popularity).
Ronald Edwards for Healdsburg City Council – WON
Thea Selby for San Francisco Community College Board
Mano Raju for S.F. Public Defender – winning with 70% of the vote
Matt Dorsey for S.F. Supervisor: District 6 – winning with 55.2% of the vote
Rafael Mandelman for S.F. Supervisor: District 8 – winning with 77% of the vote
George Syrop for Hayward City Council – WON
Victor Aguilar for San Leandro City Council – WON
Lynnette Mont-eton Shaw for Fairfax Town Council
Shaw runs the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana and is a longtime activist.
Gem Montes for Colton City Council
Gem is the director of Inland Empire NORML.
San Diego’s Blue Dream Democrats endorse:
Board of Supervisors Seat 4 – Nathan Fletcher
Board of Supervisors Seat 5 – Tiffany Boyd-Hodgson
San Diego City District 4 – Monica Montgomery Steppe
San Diego City District 6 – Kent Lee
San Diego City District 8 – Vivian Moreno
Vista Mayor – Cipriano Vargas
National City Mayor – Jose Rodriguez
National City City Council District 1 – Luz Molina
National City City Council District 3 – Ditas Yamane
Imperial Beach City Council – Anna Webb
LOCAL BALLOT MEASURES
Also see: CA Voters Pass 25 Local Cannabis Measures, Reject 12
EL DORADO COUNTY
South Lake Tahoe – Measure G – passed (62%)
Authorizing the city to enact a gross receipts tax of up to 6% on retail, distribution, and manufacturing and $20/square foot of canopy on cultivation for marijuana businesses, replacing the previous community benefit fee.
McFarland – Measure O – passed (64%)
Establishing an 8% tax on gross receipts for retail, 2.5% of gross receipts for testing labs, and 6% of gross receipts in other cannabis businesses to fund general city services.
Avenal – Measure C – Passed
Seeks to tax cannabis businesses at $25/sq. ft. of business area or 15% of gross receipts; whichever is greater. Read more.
Lassen County – Measure S – Failed
Permitting indoor commercial cannabis cultivation sites in the unincorporated area of Lassen County, and establishing regulations.
Susanville – Measure R – Failed (65%)
Permitting commercial cannabis activities in Susanville, and establishing regulations.
LOS ANGELES COUNTY
Would tax and allow cannabis businesses in the unincorporated parts of LA County.
Baldwin Park – Measure CB – UPDATE 11/17 – winning by 16 votes.
Shall the measure authorizing cannabis retailers to sell and deliver medical cannabis and cannabis products to adults, and adult-use cannabis and cannabis products to persons 21 years and older, with retailers paying a 0.5% tax and 4% tax on gross receipts from sales, respectively, providing $300,000 to $3 million annually for general government use, and authorizing City Council to modify rates up to 5%, until repealed by voters, be adopted?
Claremont – Measure CT – won with 61% of the vote.
To fund City services, shall a measure establishing a tax on cannabis and hemp businesses of the following rates: 4%-7% of gross receipts for retail businesses; and the higher of 1 %-4% of gross receipts or $1-$10 per square foot for other businesses, with certain rates increasing annually, generating an estimated $500,000 annually if cannabis and hemp businesses were to be authorized in the future, until ended by voters, be adopted?
Cudahy – Measure BA – won with 53% of the vote
Cannabis Businesses Accountability Measure
To increase funding for parks, recreational programs, roads and sidewalks and other general governmental purposes, shall an ordinance authorizing and regulating storefront retail cannabis sales and other commercial cannabis activities be approved with prohibitions on retail operations within 600 feet of schools, churches, childcare facilities and other sensitive uses and with retailers required to pay a 15% gross receipts tax to raise approximately $3,581,952.75 annually until ended by Cudahy voters?
El Segundo – Measures Y & W
NO – Measure Y – Shall an ordinance (a “yes” vote taxing cannabis does “not” make cannabis businesses legal in El Segundo; it creates a tax in case a cannabis business ever becomes legal) funding general municipal expenses such as police, fire, streets, and parks, by establishing taxes upon cannabis businesses not to exceed $20 per square foot for cultivation and 10% of gross receipts for other cannabis businesses, until ended by voters, generating approximately $600,000 to $1,500,000 annually, be adopted? Won with 72% of the vote.
YES – Measure W – Shall an ordinance be adopted to repeal the City’s current prohibition on commercial cannabis activities to authorize commercial cannabis retailers east of Pacific Coast Highway in the Multimedia Overlay District by right, if no less than 1,750 square feet, with sensitive receptor buffers and away from major arterial frontages, subject to a City permitting process; and authorize the City Council to subsequently regulate non-retail cannabis businesses? Failed with 41% of the vote.
Hermosa Beach – Measures M & T
NO – Measure M – Shall an ordinance proposed by initiative petition be adopted that repeals the City’s existing ban on cannabis businesses and allows by City-approved permit up to two cannabis retail storefront businesses, including home delivery from those stores? Losing with 27% of the vote.
YES – Measure T – Shall an ordinance be adopted enacting a local business tax on cannabis/hemp businesses up to $20.00 per square foot for cultivation and up to 10% of gross receipts for all other cannabis/hemp businesses, estimated to generate $700,000 – $1,500,000 annually (assuming two retail stores operating and taxed at maximum rate), until ended by voters, for general governmental use, subject to independent audits, to be effective only if cannabis business operations are allowed in the City? Winning with 66% of the vote.
Lynwood – Measure TR – passing with 65.27% of the vote.
Shall the City adopt Ordinance No.1752 establishing a 5%, but not to exceed 10% tax on businesses selling cannabis products at retail stores in the City to help fund City general fund services such as senior citizen programs, City beautification efforts, enforcement of illegal cannabis operations, public safety, housing programs, recreation services, infrastructure, and homeless reduction and other City efforts? Estimated revenues are $3 to $6 million annually until terminated by the City Council. Winning with 65% of the vote.
Manhattan Beach – Measures MB & V
YES – Measure MB – Shall a measure repealing Manhattan Beach’s existing prohibition of all commercial cannabis activity; allowing three cannabis retailers within city limits; allowing Manhattan Beach City Council discretion to legalize other cannabis uses; and imposing operational, design, and location requirements on such businesses, be adopted? Losing with 78% of the vote.
NO – Measure V – Shall a measure readopting Manhattan Beach’s existing: (1) prohibition of all commercial cannabis activities in the City; and (2) allowance of limited indoor cannabis cultivation consistent with state law, be adopted? Winning with 68% of the vote.
Redondo Beach – Measure E (voted on Oct. 19; failed)
A “yes” vote supports this initiative to repeal the city’s ban on non-medical marijuana businesses and allow up to three marijuana retailers in Redondo Beach. Learn more.
Santa Monica – Measure HMP – winning by 66% of the vote.
Shall the measure to establish a business tax on every licensed cannabis business (including adult-use nonmedicinal cannabis retailers, distribution, manufacturing, cultivation, laboratory testing, or any other licensed cannabis business) and retailers of products containing psychoactive cannabinoids including derived from industrial hemp, up to 10% of gross receipts on cannabis and/or hemp-derived psychoactive products sold in the City, which all together could generate an estimated $3-5 million annually until repealed be adopted?
South El Monte – Measures CM & X
Measure CM – Shall the measure, permitting and thoroughly regulating limited cannabis retail businesses (1 adult-use/medical with option of up to 3 total after the measure’s 1st year), establishing a general tax at a maximum 8% of noncultivation cannabis business proceeds and $25/square foot of cultivation space (with CPI increases) applicable to permitted/unpermitted businesses, generating approximately $720,000 annually until ended by voters, for general City services (e.g., police, maintenance), be adopted? Winning by 54% of the vote.
Measure X – Shall the measure, permitting/regulating limited cannabis businesses (5 dispensaries, 2 cultivation, 1 testing facility, 2 manufactures/distributors); regulating personal cannabis use; establishing a maximum 6% special excise tax on retail cannabis/edibles sales generating approximately $126,000 annually until ended by voters for implementation costs, clinical trials, municipalities where cannabis business are located, senior/youth programs, infrastructure (streets/roads/sidewalks), public safety (sheriffs/fire department), existing/future commercial, industrial, and affordable housing developments, be adopted? Losing with 45% of the vote.
Sausalito – Measure K – failing with only 28% of the vote.
Shall the measure repealing the existing ban on cannabis sales in the City of Sausalito, establishing an application process for retail cannabis businesses; giving preference to local applicants that expressed interest in operating a cannabis business before April 1, 2021; authorizing one storefront and one delivery-only cannabis business; regulating the operations and location of cannabis businesses; and requiring payment to the City of the greater of 7.5% net profits or $50,000 per year, be adopted?
City of Monterey – Measure J – winning with 68.1% of the vote
Cannabis Business License Tax. Shall the measure to impose an annual cannabis (marijuana) business license tax of up to 8% of gross receipts from retail businesses, 2% of gross receipts from testing laboratories, and 6% of gross receipts from other cannabis businesses, with an additional tax on highly potent products, generating about $604,000 to $1.3 million a year, with all funds staying local and subject to audit, and effective until repealed by voters, be adopted? View Full Text (in PDF Format)
City of Pacific Grove – Measures M & N
Measure M – Cannabis Business Advisory Measure – carrying with 61% of the vote
Should the Pacific Grove City Council be authorized to amend the Municipal Code to allow retail sales of medical or recreational cannabis, limited to one single location within the City, at a location no closer than 1000 feet from any existing licensed Daycare/Preschools, Youth Center, and Schools, to engage in commercial cannabis activities? View Full Text.
Measure N – Cannabis Business Tax – winning with 71% of the vote
To fund general municipal expenses such as police, fire, roads and recreation, and for unrestricted general fund purposes, shall an ordinance be adopted establishing a City excise tax on cannabis businesses (which includes hemp) at an annual rate not to exceed 6% of gross receipts for retail and delivery cannabis businesses, which is expected to generate an estimated $300,000 annually and will be levied until repealed by the voters? View Full Text.
Huntington Beach – Measure O – winning with 54.55% of the vote.
Shall the City adopt an Ordinance that taxes cannabis businesses up to 6% of gross receipts for retailers and up to 1% of gross receipts for all other cannabis businesses if they were to be permitted in the City; which is expected to generate an estimated $300,000 to $600,000 annually to fund general municipal services for Huntington Beach and will be levied until repealed by the voters?
Laguna Woods – Measure T – winning with 62.39% of the vote.
To fund City services, shall a measure establishing a tax on cannabis businesses of the higher of the following rates: 4%- 10% of gross receipts or $5-$35 per square foot for retail businesses; and 1%-10% of gross receipts or $1-$35 per square foot for other businesses, with certain rates increasing annually, generating an estimated $750,000 annually if cannabis businesses were to be authorized in the future, until ended by voters, be adopted?
Sacramento County – Measure B – losing with 53% (requires supermajority)
To enact special taxes on gross receipts from marijuana and hemp businesses in unincorporated Sacramento county to fund homeless services.
SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY
Montclair – Measure R – passed
To tax cannabis businesses at 7%. Full Text of Measure.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY
San Diego County – Measure A. Endorsed by Blue Dream Democrats – Leading with 59.1% of the vote
Shall the measure to fund general County purposes including but not limited to parks, fire safety, roads, health, and social equity, by taxing cannabis businesses in the unincorporated area on gross receipts at maximum 6% for retail, 3% for distribution, 2% for testing, cultivation at 3% or $10 (inflation adjustable) per canopy square foot, and 4% for other businesses, generating an estimated $2,930,000 to $5,600,000 annually until repealed by voters, be adopted? Read more.
Encinitas – Measure L – passed with 66% of the vote
Establishing a cannabis sales tax at rates of 4% to 7% of gross receipts for retail cannabis businesses, 1% to 4% for non-retail cannabis businesses, and $2.00 to $10.00 per canopy square foot for cultivation.
Healdsburg – Measure M – PASSED
Shall the measure establishing a City of Healdsburg cannabis business tax at annual rates up to and not to exceed 8% of gross receipts for cannabis businesses, and estimated to generate approximately $500,000 annually in tax revenue until ended by voters, to be spent for unrestricted general revenue purposes, including police, fire and emergency services, parks, affordable housing, and street maintenance, be adopted? Read more.
Red Bluff – Measure E – Losing with only 33% of the vote
Measure E would allow the following state commercial cannabis license types to operate in the City: storefront retail, retail delivery (non-storefront), microbusiness, manufacturing (including volatile), distribution, testing, cannabis events, and indoor cultivation. It would also permit cannabis consumption lounges if permitted by state law. Measure E allows 1 storefront retail business, delivery retailer or consumption lounge for every 5,000 people in the City. Full Text of Measure.
To tax cultivation up to $25 per square foot and other cannabis businesses up to 10%.
City of Tulare – Measure Y – passing
Would establish a tax not to exceed $10/canopy square foot of cannabis cultivation, and 10% for cannabis retail and all other cannabis businesses. Read more.
Woodland – Measure K – passing with 68% of the vote
Measure K would enact a 10% tax on cannabis businesses.