Los Angeles, California

Sterling Davis

California Has New Cannabis-Friendly Officials, Taxes

California’s midterm elections demonstrated voter support for a variety of cannabis issues and resulted in new taxes and a new governor, Leafly reports.

Elected officials

Pro-cannabis stances helped a variety of political candidates retain their seats or become elected in California.

Pro-cannabis candidate for Governor Gavin Newsom won the office over Republican candidate John Cox. Governor-elect Newsom is a former mayor of San Francisco and campaigned on behalf of Proposition 64, which legalized cannabis in California in 2016.

In the congressional races, cannabis convert Diane Feinstein retained her Senate seat after changing her stance on cannabis to support a state’s rights approach in the last few years. Cannabis opponent Rep. Steven Knight was given the boot by voters, to be replaced by Democrat Katie Hill. Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter, who is pro-cannabis, took the seat for District 50 as well.


Taxes were also at issue on California’s state ballot. San Francisco, Fresno, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, and dozens of other cities and municipalities across California passed new local cannabis industry taxes. Many industry advocates say cannabis is already over-taxed but costs continue to rise.

Oakland was one of the few cities to pass an initiative that may actually lower taxes. Oakland’s “Measure V” restructuring of taxes is the first of its kind and is lauded by industry supporters, who hope to see more legislation of its type.

Notably, the Los Angeles public bank initiative, Measure B, failed with 61 percent of voters rejecting the plan. The initiative would’ve created a municipal bank to enable full banking services for cannabis businesses. The bank would also have helped fund affordable housing and entrepreneurship and was backed by City Council President Herb Wesson.

California is expected to continue as a model for cannabis regulation — the state has been on the forefront of cannabis legalization for decades and there’s no end in sight.

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