It’s becoming more clear that support of marijuana is politically advantageous. Politicians across the country at all levels are stepping forward with pro-marijuana campaign platforms, and it’s paying off. Even here in California, where both medical and recreational marijuana are legal, it is clear voters want candidates who will continue to protect those laws, according to a report from Civilized. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) recently switched her stance to pro-marijuana and won her primary bid for re-election. It’s no surprise her change of heart came after her Democratic challenger Kevin de Leon came out swinging with strong support for cannabis last year. Because of California’s “top-two” primary system, both candidates will be on the ballot in November, even though they are from the same party.
These sudden “evolutions” in thinking about marijuana are springing up among political figures all over the country. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer recently had a similar change in thinking, and former Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner flipped on his previously staunch anti-marijuana views to join the board of directors of a cannabis company.In Orange County, despite being mired in controversy, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA 48) handily won the most votes in his primary run defending his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is famous for his strong stance in favor of medical marijuana and is one half of the namesake of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, the federal budget add-on that prevents the Justice Department from using funds to go after medical marijuana operations that are in compliance with their state’s laws. A Republican and Democrat both hopeful to take Rohrabacher down were left clamoring for the second spot on the ballot. Neither of the candidates made cannabis a talking point in their election bids, one of them even mocking Rohrabacher’s strong support as not being enough to qualify someone as a good representative. Voters apparently disagreed.
Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom had no problem securing the votes during the primary in the race for governor of California. Newsom has been a longtime supporter of marijuana legalization. He was a prominent advocate leading up to the passing of Proposition 64, all the while becoming one of the rising stars of the Democratic party in the state. The pattern continued from these top seats all the way down the ticket in the primary elections, with pro-marijuana candidates leading races for controller, treasurer, attorney general, and secretary of state.
Our Orange County marijuana business lawyers know strong support from top political figures will only help in the fight to remove marijuana’s federal classification as a Schedule I narcotic. Our legal team helps clients in Southern California successfully open businesses in compliance with state and local laws, but federal prohibition has prevented companies from reaching their full potential. Opinions on marijuana are rapidly shifting across the country, but with key players in the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration still staunchly against cannabis or seemingly oblivious to its benefits, the battle is far from won. The time for wishy-washy opinions is past. Taking a bold stance in favor of cannabis is necessary for politicians to overcome the next hurdles in marijuana legalization, and to curry favor among their constituents who already have seen the light.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients, defendants, workers and those facing criminal marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
Pro-Cannabis Candidates Clean Up In California Primary Election 2018, June 5, 2018, By David Downs, Leafly
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