The most important race for medical marijuana patients in California on November 2nd is for the State Attorney General's office. The Republican candidate Steve Cooley is just "Not Cool" for patients and those who support medical marijuana. In fact, Cooley's not just bad for patients, he's also bad for the environment and bad for marriage equality.
Last week, Americans for Safe Access, the country's leading medical marijuana advocacy organization, launched a website and funded satirical, yet serious, videos illustrating how Cooley would be bad for medical marijuana, the environment and marriage equality. Additional materials, like ASA's "NotCooley" posters can be downloaded here. Updates on the "NotCooley" campaign can also be followed on Facebook and Twitter.
From his fervent support for the death penalty and Proposition 8, to his weak record on environmental justice and enforcement, Cooley has alienated much of the voter base he needs to get elected. We're hoping the "NotCooley" campaign will push him completely out of the race. California's top law enforcement officer must be relied on to protect the sick, the disenfranchised, and those targeted for discrimination, and Steve Cooley fails on all counts.
Cooley already has the motivation, but we must not give him the means to broaden his attack on medical marijuana patients. Cooley has long fought patient advocates on the issue of medical marijuana and as Los Angeles District Attorney, he condoned dozens of SWAT-style raids on local dispensaries, aggressively prosecuted patients and their providers, and tried to criminalize the "sale" of medical marijuana. Cooley must not be allowed to expand his agenda to the entire state, and must be prevented from dismantling many of the gains made by patients over the past 14 years.
The race for California Attorney General is closely contested, with Cooley's challenger, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, gaining in the polls. Unlike Cooley, Harris has shown consistent support for the state's medical marijuana laws and those fighting for marriage equality. On the issue of whether local medical marijuana dispensaries are legal under state law, the two candidates could not be more divergent. While Harris has recognized the need for dispensaries and has supported statewide regulations, Cooley by contrast has sided with the California Narcotic Officers Association (CNOA) approach that dispensaries must be "eradicated."
It was revealed last week by the Huffington Post that the Virginia-based Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), a corporate front group funded by tobacco, insurance and gambling interests, and coordinated by Karl Rove, is spending $1 million in last-minute TV attack ads against Harris. On the other hand, President Obama has strongly supported and raised funds for Harris, who is the single African-American Democrat on the statewide ballot. Harris is also California's first African-American District Attorney and, if she wins next week, would be the state's first female Attorney General.