by David Downs
It's a great day to be American drug law reformer, but a less awesome day to be a Californian one. The buzz from the sudden legalization of pot for adults over 21 in two states hasn't worn off, but when it does, California's mixed bag of election results will be part of the hangover.
Drug war enthusiast Sen. Diane Feinstein also retains her secure seat with 61.4 percent of the vote.
Prop 36 — the Three Strikes Law Modification initiative — passed with 68.6 percent of the vote. Activists are cheering the potential end to such cruel sentences as life in prison for cultivating a pot plant or smoking a joint. Three Strikes is bananas. We're happy to see it walked back.
Medical marijuana ally Rep. Barbara Lee crushed it with 83 percent of the vote.
But staunch medical marijuana defender in the House, Rep. Pete Stark, succumbed to his own crankiness, losing with 46.9 percent of the vote. Ouch.
Progressive Santa Barbara Rep. Lois Capps beat challenger Abel Maldonado on the South Coast.
And progressive Ventura Democrat Julia Brownley defeated drug law reform foe Rep. Tony Strickland, 51.85 to 48.15.
Longtime Prop 215 critic and incumbent Rep. Dan Lundgren is not conceding to challenger Ami Bera, who has been less bellicose on pot.
In Oakland, friends of the cause “Oakland Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan and City Attorney Barbara Parker won reelection, easily defeating Councilmembers Ignacio De La Fuente and Jane Brunner, respectively. Kaplan won by more than 20 percentage points in ranked-choice tabulations, while Parker won by a whopping 35 points. Longtime Councilman Larry Reid also won reelection in a landslide,” Robert Gammon reports.
In Los Angeles County's important District Attorney race, voters had to chose between two candidates who both believe marijuana collective members can't exchange cash for pot under state law. Steve Cooley underling Jackie Lacey took it. Expect more of the same in L.A.
And it was a dark day for those who tried to install local dispensary regulations using the ballot. Palo Alto (Measure C) got crushed on the peninsula with just 38 percent of the vote, illustrating the need for an actual ground game to support these local initiatives.
Similarly, Lemon Grove's Prop T, lost 61 to 38 in San Diego county. Nearby, Del Mar's Prop H lost 56 to 43, Imperial Beach's Prop S lost 59 to 40, and Solana Beach's Prop W lost 62 to 37. Out in Siskiyou County, Dunsmuir's Measure S — which would have loosened restrictions on medical pot growing - lost 52 to 47.
However, the next San Diego Mayor will be Bob Filner, who's been outspoken in his support of medical marijuana. Good job, Bob. Your city needs you.