State of California Archives: on Drugs


Kamala Harris: Recognize the war on drugs was a failure

In 2014 Kamala Harris was asked for her opinion on legalizing recreational marijuana. Her response, which incensed the pro-pot crowd to no end, was laughter. What a difference a year makes. Now she's running for a US Senate seat. And she's changed her tune from laughter to support for an end of the federal prohibition on medical marijuana.

At the 2015 Democratic State Convention, here's what she said, "Standing up for the people means challenging the policy of mass incarceration by recognizing the war on drugs was a failure. Now is the time to end the federal ban on medical marijuana."

Harris' own pronouncements on cannabis have been evolving. Last fall she lashed out at feds' continued crackdowns in medical marijuana states, saying, "An overly broad federal enforcement campaign will make it more difficult for legitimate patients to access physician-recommended medicine." Late last year, she also said she believed that recreational pot legalization in California was inevitable.

Source: LA Weekly coverage of 2015 California Senate race May 20, 2015

Norma Torres: Food stamps for drug felons; immunity for reporting overdose

Source: Vote Smart synopses: 2014 California state voting records Sep 9, 2014

Jerry Brown: How many people can get stoned and still have a great state?

The host of NBC's "Meet the Press" asked Brown about the possibility of legalized recreational marijuana use in California. Brown responded that he was watching Colorado and Washington--the two states currently have legalized recreational marijuana use-- and that California's medical marijuana policies were "very close" to what these states are doing. "I'd really like those two states to show us how it's going to work," he said.

He also expressed worry about the "tendency to go to extremes." After legalization, he said, "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."

California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana use in 1996, when 56 percent of voters approved Proposition 215.

Source: Washington Post on 2014 California governor race Mar 2, 2014

Rob Astorino: War on drugs has disproportionately hurt minorities

He's "not comfortable with legalizing marijuana. I've never smoked pot in my life," he said. "But I also don't think it makes sense to lock people up, to ruin their lives, to waste millions of dollars for a small amount of drugs," he added, noting there must be a better approach than the "war on drugs" that has disproportionately hurt minorities.
Source: Inside Bay Area Buzz on 2014 California governor race Feb 21, 2014

Neel Kashkari: When you legalize something, you send a signal you approve

On the legalization of pot: "I've never tried drugs of any kind, so I'm uncomfortable with the idea of the government legalizing it. When you legalize something, you're sending a signal you approve."
Source: San Francisco Chronicle on 2014 California governor race Nov 14, 2013

Jerry Brown: Vetoed prosecutor discretion on drugs; keep it a felony

Gov. Brown vetoed SB649, which would have given prosecutors discretion in charging suspects arrested of drug possession with a misdemeanor rather than a felony. In vetoing the modest reform, Brown rejected an opportunity to alleviate overcrowded prisons and jails.

Presently, prosecutors must charge individuals arrested for possession of certain drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, with felonies. Under current California law, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is an infraction and possession of methamphetamine is currently eligible for a misdemeanor charge. Senate Bill 649, then, would have merely extended the option to possession of other substances, such as heroin and cocaine, and would not have gone so far as California has with marijuana.

The veto comes as California scrambles to figure out how to meet a Jan. 2014 deadline to reduce overcrowding in the state prison system. In 2010, California was ordered to reduce the prison population from 150,000 to 110,000.

Source: Reason Magazine on 2014 California governor's race Oct 16, 2013

Jerry Brown: Vetoed reducing drug possession from felony to misdemeanor

Excerpts from Legislative Counsel's Digest:Status:Passed House, 41-31-6; passed Senate 24-14-1; vetoed by Governor, Oct. 12, 2013; no override vote.

OnTheIssues Explanation: "Tetrahydrocannabinols" means marijuana and its derivatives. The failure of this bill joined a series of similar bills to reduce penalties for marijuana usage. Only medical marijuana usage is currently legal in California.

Source: California legislative voting records: SB 649 Oct 12, 2013

Mark DeSaulnier: Reduce drug possession from felony to misdemeanor

Excerpts from Legislative Counsel's Digest:Status:Passed House, 41-31-6; passed Senate 24-14-1; vetoed by Governor, Oct. 12, 2013; no override vote.

OnTheIssues Explanation: "Tetrahydrocannabinols" means marijuana and its derivatives. The failure of this bill joined a series of similar bills to reduce penalties for marijuana usage. Only medical marijuana usage is currently legal in California. (Mark DeSaulnier voted YEA).

Source: California legislative voting records: SB 649 Sep 10, 2013

Mimi Walters: Voted NO on reducing possession from felony to misdemeanor

Excerpts from Legislative Counsel's Digest:Status:Passed House, 41-31-6; passed Senate 24-14-1; vetoed by Governor, Oct. 12, 2013; no override vote.

OnTheIssues Explanation: "Tetrahydrocannabinols" means marijuana and its derivatives. The failure of this bill joined a series of similar bills to reduce penalties for marijuana usage. Only medical marijuana usage is currently legal in California. (Mimi Walters voted NAY).

Source: California legislative voting records: SB 649 Sep 10, 2013

Norma Torres: Reduce drug possession from felony to misdemeanor

Excerpts from Legislative Counsel's Digest:Status:Passed House, 41-31-6; passed Senate 24-14-1; vetoed by Governor, Oct. 12, 2013; no override vote.

OnTheIssues Explanation: "Tetrahydrocannabinols" means marijuana and its derivatives. The failure of this bill joined a series of similar bills to reduce penalties for marijuana usage. Only medical marijuana usage is currently legal in California. (Norma Torres voted YEA).

Source: California legislative voting records: SB 649 Sep 10, 2013

Steve Knight: Voted NO on reducing possession from felony to misdemeanor

Excerpts from Legislative Counsel's Digest:Status:Passed House, 41-31-6; passed Senate 24-14-1; vetoed by Governor, Oct. 12, 2013; no override vote.

OnTheIssues Explanation: "Tetrahydrocannabinols" means marijuana and its derivatives. The failure of this bill joined a series of similar bills to reduce penalties for marijuana usage. Only medical marijuana usage is currently legal in California. (Steve Knight voted NAY).

Source: California legislative voting records: SB 649 Sep 10, 2013

Ted Lieu: Reduce drug possession from felony to misdemeanor

Excerpts from Legislative Counsel's Digest:Status:Passed House, 41-31-6; passed Senate 24-14-1; vetoed by Governor, Oct. 12, 2013; no override vote.

OnTheIssues Explanation: "Tetrahydrocannabinols" means marijuana and its derivatives. The failure of this bill joined a series of similar bills to reduce penalties for marijuana usage. Only medical marijuana usage is currently legal in California. (Ted Lieu voted YEA).

Source: California legislative voting records: SB 649 Sep 10, 2013

Rocky Chavez: Reduce drug possession from felony to misdemeanor

Excerpts from Legislative Counsel's Digest:Status:Passed House, 41-31-6; passed Senate 24-14-1; vetoed by Governor, Oct. 12, 2013; no override vote.

OnTheIssues Explanation: "Tetrahydrocannabinols" means marijuana and its derivatives. The failure of this bill joined a series of similar bills to reduce penalties for marijuana usage. Only medical marijuana usage is currently legal in California. (Rocky Chavez voted YEA).

Source: California legislative voting records: SB 649 Sep 4, 2013

Julia Brownley: Decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana

Q: Should the possession of small amounts of marijuana be decriminalized?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support alternatives to incarceration for certain non-violent offenders, such as mandatory counseling or substance abuse treatment?

A: Yes.

Q: Should a minor accused of a violent crime be prosecuted as an adult?

A: No.

Source: California Congressional 2010 Political Courage Test Oct 30, 2010

Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Interstate commerce laws do not apply to personal marijuana

However, Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg appeared to support the arguments of the plaintiffs (USA Today, 11/30). “As I understand it, none of this homegrown marijuana will be on any interstate market,” O’Connor said, adding, “And it is in the area of something traditionally regulated by states. This limited exception (to the drug laws) is a non-economic use--growing for personal use” (Los Angeles Times, 11/30). Ginsburg said that “nobody’s buying anything--nobody’s selling anything.
Source: www.californiahealthline.org, comments on marijuana ruling Nov 30, 2004

Sandra Day O`Connor: Interstate commerce laws do not apply to personal marijuana

However, Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg appeared to support the arguments of the plaintiffs (USA Today, 11/30). “As I understand it, none of this homegrown marijuana will be on any interstate market,” O’Connor said, adding, “And it is in the area of something traditionally regulated by states. This limited exception (to the drug laws) is a non-economic use--growing for personal use” (Los Angeles Times, 11/30). Ginsburg said that “nobody’s buying anything--nobody’s selling anything.
Source: www.californiahealthline.org, comments on marijuana ruling Nov 30, 2004

  • The above quotations are from State of California Politicians: Archives.
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Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
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Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
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Page last updated: Dec 20, 2015