As Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez of Santa Ana plans to leave the position she’s held for 20 years, in hopes to replace Barbara Boxer as Senator when she retires in 2017, there are a number of individuals looking to fill her spot. Initially, those congressional hopefuls consisted of former senators Joe Dunn and Lou Correa, Anaheim City Council Member Jordan Brandman and the progressive mayor of Garden Grove, Bao Nguyen. In March, four Republicans and one Independent filed papers to join the race, heightening the competition.
While these political figures are working for Sanchez’s Congressional seat, Californians are working to create a more stringent and reliable medical cannabis market with hopes to legalize the plant recreationally come November elections. With that in mind, the Orange County Register asked each candidate to express their views on cannabis legalization.
Surprisingly, most of the candidates were supportive of medical cannabis, with mixed emotions being revealed on the topic of recreational use. Correa had a neutral stance on the matter stating, “As a father, I am concerned about the message that legalizing marijuana will send our children. I will not take a public position on this ballot measure.” While Dunn was in full support of legalization, medically and recreationally stating that it would bring in much needed tax money and decrease activity on the black market. Nguyen was also a full-on supporter stating that cannabis should be removed as a Schedule I substance and that cannabis businesses should have access to proper banking.
Three of the Republican candidates expressed their stance with Correa and Rudy Gaona stating that they support medical cannabis but feel the plant should not be legalized recreationally. Irvine Councilwoman Lynn Scott supports medical and recreational use but knows precautions must be made for a safe market. “We need to provide proper and thorough health information and education on the pros and cons of marijuana use to those who seek to purchase it,” Scott stated.
The only independent candidate running in the race, Nancy Trinidad Marin, was unsure of her stance on recreational cannabis but fully supports medical use. Trinidad believes that cannabis should be decriminalized along with other drugs, according to the Orange County Register.
This is a telling sign of how cannabis is slowly becoming accepted by political figures. Last month, the Voice of O.C. reported that Sanchez, Nguyen and Dunn attended a press conference publicizing the first unionized collective in Orange County, revealing the evolving support and understanding the cannabis market continues to receive.