We are proud to once again announce our medical marijuana patients and advocates voter guide for the 2016 primary election. Below are our recommendations for safe access in San Diego County:
Please note: A *
denotes a strategically critical race in this election season. This is usually a close contest with a clear
choice for and against safe access.
President of the United
States - Senator Bernie Sanders
The easiest race to decide an endorsement. Senator
Bernie Sanders deserves credit for being the first major presidential candidate
in history to support outright legalization of marijuana. Speaking at a town
hall meeting last year, Sanders declared, “It is time to tax and regulate
marijuana like alcohol, it is time to end the arrests of so many people and the
destruction of so many lives for possessing marijuana.” He followed up by
introducing the “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act,” to let states
regulate marijuana. Speaking to Californians, Bernie also endorsed the AUMA
legalization initiative that will be on the ballot in November.
United States Senator - Representative
Loretta Sanchez (D)*
Two Democratic candidates are leading the
race for the seat of retiring Sen. Boxer. Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Orange County
has been a consistent supporter of medical marijuana over the years. Since
joining the House in 1997, she has compiled a near perfect voting record on
marijuana and drug reform issues, the longest such record of any Southern
California Democrat. Asked in a debate about what the she would do in
Washington to reduce crime in California, she replied, “First of all, I believe
that we need to get the federal government to get marijuana off of schedule
one.” At times, Sanchez has a tendency to let her tongue outrace the bounds of
political discretion. When interest in legalization first heated up in
California, she suggested that the state explore a pilot program of legalized,
regulated marijuana, but quietly retreated after getting zero support from her
Attorney General Kamala Harris is staunchly
progressive, but cautious when it comes to marijuana. As A.G., she did
disappointingly little on behalf of medical marijuana, rebuffing requests to
join other states in filing a rescheduling petition with the federal
government. More seriously, Harris failed to speak up against the federal
crackdown on dispensaries in California, despite the fact that as former
District Attorney of San Francisco she should have known that the city’s
dispensaries were working well and the federal charges against them were bogus.
Running for re-election, Harris waved off a question about legalization with a
laugh, but later said she is “not opposed” to it and even sees it as
“inevitable”. Speaking recently at the Democratic convention, Harris called the
war on drugs “a failure” and called for ending the federal ban on medical
marijuana. Most likely Harris would vote well enough in the Senate, but her
lack of leadership in the state has been troubling.
House of Representatives
California 49 - Doug
Darrell Issa, the sitting congressional
representative in this district has been terrible on the issue of medical
marijuana access. He has voted against
every federal legislation to relieve federal prosecution of medical marijuana
patients. He openly advocated for the DOJ
crackdown on state MMJ laws. Doug
Applegate is his strongest challenger.
Therefore, in protest of Darrell Issa’s horrific track record, we urge
you to vote for Doug Applegate.
California 50 - Duncan D.
Hunter (R, Incumbent)
Duncan Hunter has consistently voted for pro-medical
marijuana legislation. He also
co-sponsored the “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2015”, the “CARERS Act”
and “Charlotte's Web Medical Access Act of 2015” and for this he has earned our
California 51 - Juan
Vargas (D, Incumbent)
Incumbent Congressman Juan Vargas has not been vocal
on the issue of medical marijuana, but his voting record in congress has been
California 52 - Scott
Peters (D, Incumbent)
Incumbent congressman Scott Peters has been
consistently voted for the rights of medical marijuana patients. He also has actively engaged with the local
medical marijuana community, sending representatives to local meetings of
Americans for Safe Access and openly advocating for patients’ rights. He also
co-sponsored the “Marijuana Businesses Access to Banking Act of 2015”.
California 53 - Susan
Davis (D, Incumbent)
We are endorsing Susan Davis for Congress because she
has consistently voted for pro-access legislation in Congress. That said, she has not been a vocal advocate,
nor has she cosponsored any bills in favor of medical marijuana access or
patients. We would like to see her to
more in the future.
Senate, District 39 - Toni
Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins has been a staunch
supporter of medical marijuana patients right since long before her time in the
California State Legislature. She
championed the medical marijuana regulation and safety act, and has
consistently voted in favor of patients right and safe access. We
enthusiastically endorse her for state Senate.
Assembly, District 71 –
The incumbent Assemblymember, Brian Jones, has a very
mixed record when it comes to supporting medical marijuana legislation in the
state legislature. His two opponents are
also anti-access, and openly oppose safe access in the district. With no good options, we suggest sitting this
Assembly, District 75 - Andrew
Incumbent Marie Walderon has been, at best, a mixed
bag on medical marijuana issues, and voted against access as a councilmember of
Escondido. We suggest taking a gamble on
her opponent Native American Andrew Masiel.
Assembly, District 76 –
Incumbent Assemblymember Rocky Chavez is running unopposed. He has a mixed record on supporting safe
access, albeit slightly better than that of his Republican colleagues in the
Assembly. We hope it will continue to
Assembly, District 77 - Melinda
Progressive candidate Melinda Vazquez is running
against the incumbent Brian Maienschein, who has a fairly poor record in
regards to medical marijuana access and patient support. We believe that Melinda
Vasquez could do far better.
Assembly, District 78 - Todd
Todd Gloria has been a staunch supporter of medical
marijuana patients and rights during his time a councilmember in San Diego City
and we look forward to him continuing this work in the State Legislature.
Assembly, District 79 -Shirley
Weber (D, Incumbent)
We strongly support incumbent assembly member Shirley
Weber for re-election. She has been a
strong supporter of medical marijuana patients’ rights and, as an African
American woman, she has been quick to highlight the use of drug laws to
persecute the African American community in California. Shirley Weber, keep up the good work!
Assembly, District 80 - Lorena
Gonzalez (D, Incumbent)
Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez is a passionate and
dedicated assemblymember who is not afraid to advocate very vocally, and very
strongly, for the causes she feels most passionate about. And while she has
consistently voted for medical marijuana access, we wish that she would adopt
this issue as one of her core priorities, because she could be one heck of an
advocate in the state assembly. We
recommend voting for Lorena Gonzalez, and we recommend that patients and
advocates continue to work with her and speak to her about the urgency and
importance of this issue.
County & City
San Diego County Board of
District 1 - Greg Cox (R,
We do not love incumbent Greg Cox, but he has been on
the better side of the horrible votes taken by the board of supervisors on this
issue. He voted to create a medical
marijuana ordinance and he was against a permanent ban to rescind it. Therefore he has our un-enthusiastic support.
District 2 - Rudy Reyes
We recommend medical marijuana advocate Rudy Reyes against
incumbent Diane Jacobs. Rudy Reyes was the lead plaintiff in class-action lawsuit against county officials, alleging violations of patients' rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act by their refusal to regulate the use of medical marijuana. His successful suit forced the County of San Diego to issue medical marijuana ID cards and set an important precedent to allow medical marijuana access for patients in every county in California.
His candidacy is a long shot, but the incumbent, Diane
Jacobs, has consistently voted against safe access, and a vote for Rudy Reyes
is a vote against Diane Jacobs.
District 3 - Dave Roberts
(D, Incumbent) *
Incumbent Dave Roberts has not been the advocate
could be on this issue. We wish he would
have the courage to be when it comes to medical marijuana access. That said, he
also helped squash the calls for a permanent ban on medical marijuana access in
the county in the recent round of votes.
Without him there, the situation may have been a lot worse. His opponents, Kirstin Gespar and Sam Abed
are outspoken prohibitionist who have fought medical marijuana in the previous
positions. Therefore, while we are not overly
enthusiastic about Dave Roberts, his re-election is a top priority to ensure
continued medical marijuana access in unincorporated San Diego County.
City of San Diego Mayor -
Lori Saldaña (I), Ed Harris(D) or Kevin Faulconer(D)
Independent mayoral candidate Lori Saldana
has been an outspoken advocate of medical marijuana access, both in her time at
the state assembly and in public forums.
She has paid multiple visits to the local meetings of Americans for Safe
Access, and the Association of Cannabis Professionals to promote her
candidacy. She would undoubtedly be our
strongest advocate as mayor.
Democratic Mayoral Candidate Ed Harris also
had a positive track record to preserve safe access in San Diego City in his
time as interim councilmember in San Diego.
He also spoke at a recent forum of the Association of Cannabis
Professionals and pledged to be an independent voice willing to support safe
access in the city.
Giving credit where credit is due, incumbent mayor
Kevin Faulconer has not acted against safe access in San Diego City. And while that bar may appear low, when every
other city in San Diego County rushed to ban all marijuana activity, San Diego
City stood firm in its commitment to providing safe access. While the city
council has not yet passed any proposals to support the supply chain of the
existing dispensaries, no laws have been passed that permanently inhibit this
from happening, and for this, we are grateful.
San Diego City Council
District 1 - Barbara Bry (D)*
Democrat Barbara Bry is locked in a very tight race
against Republican Ray Ellis for control of city council. This should matter to the medical marijuana
community because Ray Ellis believes that marijuana is a gateway drug, while
Barbara Bry believes in the medicinal potential of marijuana. San Diego City Council will continue to
revise its medical marijuana regulations in the future and sympathetic
councilmembers will be key. Therefore,
we urge you to vote for Barbara Bry.
District 3 - Chris Ward
Candidate Chris Ward appeared before the Association
of Cannabis Professionals to promote his candidacy. He spoke very knowledgably about the zoning
issues facing medical marijuana dispensaries and had thoughtfull solutions, as
well as a commitment to addressing the issue.
Opponent Anthony Bernal did not respond to the invitation to speak, and
in a recent interview with the times of San Diego, he appeared to be content
with the current medical marijuana zoning regulations that do not allow for any
safe access in District 3. Therefore, we
recommend voting for Chris Ward.
We would like to endorse incumbent Mark
Kearsey in this race. However, despite painting himself as a pro-business,
libertarian, while he has not voted against medical marijuana access, he has
also refused to champion it, or even speak about it, in any meaningful
Opponent Frank Tsimboukakis has pledged to
fight for medical marijuana access, and has past safe access initiatives. Vote for Frank Tsimboukakis for District 5.
District 7 - Jose
Caballero(D), Justin A. DeCesare(D) or Scott Sherman(R)
Democratic Candidates Jose Caballero and
Justin DeCesare both attended meetings of the Association of Cannabis
Professionals to speak about their candidacies. They both pledged to be revisit
zoning for medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego City, and were open to
more access in District 7. Jose Caballero
was the stronger advocate, speaking clearly about the benefits of medical
marijuana for PTSD in his fellow veterans.
That said, incumbent Scott Sherman has not
been against access. And while we wish he would be a stronger advocate, he has
openly spoken about the medical benefits that he has seen in hospice patients
first hand. He is not the strongest candidate in this race, but it would also
not be fair to rate him as unacceptable.
District 9 – Ricardo
Flores(D) or Georgette Gomez(D)
There are three main candidates running in
District 9 - Ricardo Flores, Georgette Gomez and Sarah Saenz. Two, Ricardo Flores and Georgette Gomez,
accepted the invitation to speak at the meeting of the association of Cannabis
Professionals. Georgette Gomez was the
most knowledgeable regarding local policy at the meeting. Ricardo did however, did commit to doing the
research to learn the details of the local zoning policy, and proceeded to
correspond and further discuss these policies and his vision to enact better
policies with ACP leadership and members in the following weeks.
Sarah Saenz also supports medical marijuana
access. However, she was given repeated invitations to speak at the Association
of Cannabis Professionals, but chose not to appear. Therefore, we feel it is
only appropriate to endorse Georgette Gomez or Ricardo Flores, the candidates
that chose to address the group.
Whomever wins, we are confident that we will have
a safe access advocate in District 9.
City Attorney - Rafael
Castellanos (D) , Gil Cabrera (D) or Bryan Pease (D)
City Attorney candidates Rafael Castellanos,
Gil Cabrera and Bryan Pease all came to forums hosted by the association of
Cannabis Professionals to address their vision for medical marijuana policy
implementation by the City attorney’s office. They all pledged to address some of the
drafting issues present in the current medical marijuana ordinance. Bryan Pease went a step further to pledge no
prosecution against dispensaries operating out of zoning compliance from his
City Attorney candidate Mara Elliot was
unable to attend, but we expect she would continue to operate in the mode of
her current boss, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, who, while he has not been
against medical marijuana, has not pro-actively addressed issues that have been
found with the San Diego City Zoning Ordinance.
We strongly urge you to vote against Robert
Hickey, a law and order career prosecutor who pledges to “keep criminals in
jail”. We unfortunately suspect his idea
of criminals may very well include medical marijuana patients and providers.
State Proposition 50:
California Suspension of Legislators
No Recommendation – no meaningful impact on medical
San Diego (Propositions
A-H are revisions to the City Charter)
We do not have any recommendations regarding the
revisions to the San Diego City Charter or other San Diego City ballot
propositions, since they do not appear to address safe access in any meaningful
San Diego Community
District D - Alyce
San Diego Unified School
District A - John Lee
Evans (D, Incumbent)
District D - Richard
Barrera (D, Incumbent)
District E - LaShae
Democratic Central Committee
Central Committee, Assembly District 71
Eric Hereford, Chris Pearson, Christina “Tina” Rynberg
Central Committee, Assembly District 76
Evelyn Thomas, Richard L. Duquette, Michael Bullock
Central Committee, Assembly District 77
Michael Gelfand, Tommy Hough,
Central Committee, Assembly District 78
Created by Citizens for Patient Rights, sponsored by the Association of Cannabis Professionals, ID# 1338342, 315 S. Coast Hwy 101 #34 , Encinitas, CA 92024. Made in-house volunteer labor. Not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate.