Medical Marijuana

Phil Willon
June 19, 2016 – 2:05 P.M.

The California Democratic Party on Sunday stayed true to its left-leaning political ideals, voting to support ballot initiatives to legalize pot and repeal the death penalty.

The party’s executive board voted to endorse the recently qualified November ballot measures during a weekend meeting in Long Beach. Delegates at the party’s convention in February already had voted to endorse initiatives to hike cigarette taxes, affirm a law banning plastic grocery bags and impose stricter gun control.

The only mild surprise was the party’s decision to take no position on an initiative by the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation to bar the state from paying more for prescription drugs than the cost negotiated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Drug companies have mounted an aggressive opposition campaign to the measure.

Among the measures supported by the party:

  • Marijuana : The so-called Adult Use of Marijuana Act would legalize recreational pot use, allowing those 21 and older to possess and use up to an ounce. The measure would impose a 15% tax on retail sales of the drug and require the state to regulate the cultivation, distribution and sale of recreational marijuana.
  • Death penalty : A measure that would eliminate death sentences and replace them with a sentence of life without parole.
  • Citizens United: A symbolic measure that asks voters whether lawmakers should attempt to overturn the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission. The ruling in favor of a conservative nonprofit group opened the door to unlimited spending by corporations and unions in federal candidate campaigns. The measure carries no force of law.

Among the initiatives opposed by the party’s executive board:

  • Condoms: An initiative that would require porn actors to wear condoms.
  • Death penalty: The measure expedites appeals of death row inmates, with the intent of speeding up executions.