Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

June 7, 2010
Anti-drug war group finds little to like in California candidates

The Drug Policy Forum of California, a group advocating alternatives to the war on drugs, has put out an election guide for tomorrow's state primary. And it is largely unhappy with what the candidates have to offer.

In appraising major gubernatorial candidates, Republicans Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner and Democrat Jerry Brown, the organization reports: "Neither party offers a significant choice."

It takes Whitman to task for her declaration that she is "absolutely, 100 percent not in favor of legalizing marijuana for any reason" and signals out Poizner for his vow to "fight all efforts to legalize marijuana.

And while it credits Brown with signing a 1976 law as governor to decriminalize possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, the group says Brown has done "little to advance drug reform" since.

The group, part of a national policy organization, DrugSense, isn't at all happy with Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer.

It says she has "done nothing to recommend herself to marijuana supporters in her 18 years in the Senate, backing tough drug sentencing laws and opposing Prop 215," California's medical marijuana law.

But it suggests that Republican Tom Campbell, "a fiscal conservative with liberal views on social issues," may gather some support from the "medical marijuana community."

The group signals out Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, the leading Republican contender for attorney general, as "extremely dangerous" and suggests that the Democratic A.G. candidates lack courage on marijuana issues.

One candidate the Drug Policy Forum seems to like is state Board of Equalization member Betty Yee. The board chairwoman famously declared that a taxed, regulated pot trade could bring in $1.3 billion for California.

"Lee has repeatedly argued that legal marijuana, medical or otherwise, offers a promising source of tax revenue," the group declares.

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