NORML Women’s Alliance of LA Cancels Voter Ed Project Due to Lack of Interest from Candidates
Shifts Focus to Upcoming City Election
Los Angeles, CA — The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) Women’s Alliance of Los Angeles have scrapped their voter education project for California Congressional Candidates in Los Angeles County districts as the group could only get 4 of the 34 Senatorial and Congressional candidates to even answer their requests for more information.
“I know politicians see cannabis as a third rail issue,” says Cheri Sicard, the group’s leader, “but the fact is 50% of all Americans favor outright legalization of marijuana, and 70% favor making it legal for doctors to prescribe to reduce pain and suffering (Gallup Poll, 10-17-11). We at the NORML Women’s Alliance think the time is long past due for our so-called representatives and candidates for public office to have a conversation about this.”
Sicard says even candidates who are known to agree with the group’s stances on issues such as marijuana legalization, medical marijuana, and prison reform didn’t respond, preferring to keep the issue in the background.
Of the 4 candidates who did respond to the group’s request to answer a simple 9-question survey, 2 never did anything beyond say they would “take a look.” District 27 candidate Jack Orswell (R) declined to answer the questions but did state he favored marijuana for serious medical reasons, if prescribed by a doctor, and only if distributed via a pharmacy. He further stated he would like to discuss the matter after the election.
Only one candidate, District 29’s David Hernandez, actually took the time to answer the questions.
“We loved the answers David Hernandez gave,” says Jessica Lux, co-leader of NORML Women’s Alliance of Los Angeles. “David Hernandez seems to truly understand the cannabis issue and the challenges facing medical marijuana patients. More importantly, he is willing to actually represent his constituents.”
“We had better luck getting judicial candidates to answer our questions in our primary election voter education project than we did from those we are entrusting to represent our interests in Congress. That’s a pretty sad state of affairs,” says Sicard.
Since time is getting short before this election, the leaders elected to quit nagging the current crop of candidates to answer questions they will do anything in their power to avoid and instead, start turning their attention to the upcoming Los Angeles city election in March 2013.
District 29 Candidate David Hernandez’s Answers to NORML Women’s Alliance LA Voter Education Survey
NORML Women’s Alliance: Do you favor ending federal prohibition of marijuana for adult use?
David Hernandez: Yes. I will sponsor a bill to begin the process. Many have talked about removing Marijuana from the Class 1 Drug category. This would be a mistake as it would allow and enact other restrictions. Marijuana needs to be placed in a separate class and regulated much the same as liquor. There would still be restrictions, but they would be the same as with liquor.
NORML Women’s Alliance: Do you favor ending federal prohibition of medical marijuana?
David Hernandez: Yes
NORML Women’s Alliance: Do you believe federal law trumps state law?
David Hernandez: No. The voters of California passed Prop 215 and Federal Law needs to be brought in alignment in States where such legislation is passed by the voters.
NORML Women’s Alliance: Would you vote to de-fund federal raids on dispensaries and collectives in states where the voters have legalized medical marijuana?
David Hernandez: Yes
NORML Women’s Alliance: Do you believe cities and counties have the right to ban medical collectives and cooperatives?
David Hernandez: No
NORML Women’s Alliance: Do you believe medical marijuana patients and providers should be able to use an affirmative defense (i.e. medical marijuana defense) in court?
David Hernandez: Yes
NORML Women’s Alliance: Would you support legislation protecting property owners who are operating under state law from federal asset forfeiture?
David Hernandez: This is an abuse of the system of forfeiture and designed to not only take personal property but to intimidate commercial property owners from renting or leasing property to Collectives and Dispensaries.
NORML Women’s Alliance: In order to comply with the US Supreme Court mandate that California reduce its prison population, with respect to non-violent offenders, do you advocate…
A. Building more prisons
David Hernandez: No
B. Transporting prisoners out of state
David Hernandez: Only in the case of those who are in the Country Illegally. 25% of those in California prison system are in the US illegally. This will reduce the prison population by the number needed to comply with the courts requirements.
C. Sending them home on house arrest
David Hernandez: Yes, but it depends on their complete criminal record. Cannot release based only on the last offense. If there is a long record of criminal behavior, that must be considered.
D. Other (please explain)
David Hernandez: Repeal and reform Early Release Program in California. It must be based on total criminal history. This would give preference to those who are convicted of minor charges but have not
NORML Women’s Alliance: Industrial hemp has over twenty- five thousand known uses. Available trade statistics indicate the value of products labeled hemp imported into the United States was nearly $10.5 million in 2010. This is money that could be going to US farmers and business people. Couple that with the fact that hemp provides a more environmentally sound, and less expensive solution for everything from paper, clothing, and plastics, to fuel for transportation, do you support the legalization of hemp and hemp farming in California and the nation?
David Hernandez: Yes.
“Many of my positions on issues vary and I believe it is in part to the personal experiences I have had. In the case of Medical Marijuana, I cared for an individual with Aids for two years before he died. I saw firsthand the benefits including it in his treatment. I have seen abuses of Medical Marijuana in both its use and distribution, but that can also be said for drugs dispensed by doctors and pharmacies. I am convinced; a sound approach is not only necessary to addressing distribution and use, but vital in making it a part of a medical regiment. “
Candidate for Congress CA Dist 29