Now For Some Good News: “Harris Holds Big Lead Over Cooley In Undecided California Attorney General Race”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 23, 2010

    Officially, the California race between Steve Cooley and Kamala Harris for Attorney General remains ‘undecided.’ But the totals from the latest vote count appear to tell a different story.

    Harris holds big lead over Cooley in undecided California attorney general race
    via Southern California Public Radio

    Kamala Harris picked up more than 9,000 votes yesterday in the still-undecided race for California attorney general. The San Francisco district attorney now leads L.A. County’s DA, Steve Cooley, by nearly 52,000 votes.

    About eight-and-and-a-half million ballots have been counted; there’s a stack of 500,000 still to go.

    Some political observers, like L.A. City Councilman Eric Garcetti, said last week that back-of-the-envelope calculations don’t give Cooley much hope of winning.

    … We’ll know for sure when the secretary of state ratifies the results December 10.

    As I’ve written previously, the California Attorney General’s race has significant implications for the distribution of medical cannabis in California, as Cooley had pledged to prosecute dispensaries that engage in over-the-counter cash sales of marijuana to authorized patients.

    Present Attorney General guidelines, issued under former A.G. (now Governor-elect) Jerry Brown in 2008, authorize the distribution and non-profit sales of medical cannabis in California by qualified “collectives and cooperatives,” but warn that ’storefront’ business that engage in the for-profit sales of medical marijuana “are likely operating outside the protections” of state law. Cooley has long maintained that California dispensaries that engage in over-the-counter sales to customers do not meet a legal definition of ‘collectives’ or ‘not-for-profit’ entities.

    By contrast, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris has previously voiced strong support for protecting the legal rights of patients who use cannabis medicinally, stating, “We will not prosecute people who use or sell marijuana for medicinal purposes.”

    34 responses to “Now For Some Good News: “Harris Holds Big Lead Over Cooley In Undecided California Attorney General Race””

    1. Ben says:

      Just goes to show that many medical marijuana dispensary owners and drug dealers voted against Prop 19. You can see the difference in the percentage totals, because those people wouldn’t want to vote in someone who would be more aggressive in convictions and arrests towards them, but wouldn’t want their profits being reduced by Prop 19.

    2. Ben says:

      I feel like this is win-win. If Harris wins, justice is served to the people in general. If Cooley wins, justice is served to those criminally selfish medical MJ profiteers who mobilized ignorant people against prop 19.

    3. Matt Buompensiero says:

      Maybe I don’t understand the libertarian/other small 3rd party position on things, so educate me:

      I am assuming that ending pot prohibition is (or should be) a cornerstone of any liberty-leaning 3rd party. I am also assuming that the War on Weed would be considered the first war we need to end. (since it’s basically draining our country from the inside).

      With this in mind…

      There are times when I personally believe that a libertarian, green party, etc. needs to sacrifice a candidate in the name of defeating a common, dangerous enemy.

      Steve Cooley is the type of politician that wishes to end cannabis reform. He epitomizes the arrogance/ignorance of Bush-era cannabis ideology. There is no compromise in people like him. He represents the most irrational side of the Republican party. A vote for him may as well be a vote for Nixon.

      I am very concerned that the libertarian/green parties unintentionally help vote in people like Cooley.

      I’m just saying that we as Americans have common enemies sometimes. We have to prevent new anti-pot politicians from rising up the ranks.

      As a registered Republican in California, all I can do is vote Democrat when it affects the pot reform movement. Since most Republican politicians in CA are like Cooley, they in fact lose 2 votes from me.

      Harris isn’t the poster-child for us, but she at least lowers the “pot hate level” of the political scene as a whole.

      Anything we have to do to get a more pot-friendly politician base must be done. We have two gigantic political parties, and we must thin the numbers of their pot-haters. We won’t do that by scattering the votes of the pot-friendly folks.

      Thanks for reading!

    4. Dug says:

      Cooley Not Cool!

      That would be an excellent T-shirt.

    5. Sad Voter says:

      Number 3, Matt Buompensiero – I don’t label myself anything, but I usually vote libertarian and green party, especially for federal and gubernatorial seats, so I will give a stab at answering your concern…

      I feel that both the D’s and the R’s are both ‘evil’ even if one is the lesser of evil. I can’t consciously vote for someone who I disagree with on many issues just because they are soft on marijuana. We have also been duped by many Democrats in the end, ie President Obama and my governor, John Lynch.

      I would NEVER ever vote for someone I disagree with on more than 50% of the issues, so you can’t say my libertarian or third party vote is a vote against a mainstream candidate.

      Also, the large majority of Libertarians (who unlike me weren’t always libertarian from voting age) are ex-Republicans. So if anything, libertarian voters are abstaining from voting republican and give the democrats an advantage.

      It is my belief that there is not a lick of difference between an R or a D. They are just different wings of the same war mongering bird of prey. I honestly feel that voting for the lesser of two evils is exactly what both parties bank on to keep them both in power. Their partisan hackery is all a facade while they are all in bed with each other behind closed doors.

      I am very very proud of my votes. I assure you that I would NEVER vote for the lesser of two evil’s, so it is impossible to claim that my 3rd party vote is really a wasted vote for the greater evil’s benefit. I vote consistently with my conscience.

    6. True American says:


      Is the new enemy preventing legalization the “Medical Marijuana Industry” and it users?

      Alot of the analyse that Ive been reading stated the if the growers/medical marijuana supplier, medical marijuana users, and medical marijuana facilities had voted yes to prop 19 it would have passed or come very very close.

      In creating a select group of the population that can legally use (many under BS diagnosis) and a very lucrative mirco economy blossoming from it can we every overcome this…. “Monster that the Movement itself has created” ?

      [Paul Armentano responds: There are likely several reasons why Prop. 19 fell short at the polls. For instance, exit polling indicates that if younger voters had participated at a rate equal to the 2008 Presidential election then Prop. 19 would have finished at just above 50 percent. But that didn’t happen. Certainly, it was disappointing to see Prop. 19 fail to receive majority support in counties like Humbolt and Trinity (where Prop. 19 only garnered 40 percent of the vote). It was also disappointing to see certain medical dispensaries outwardly oppose Prop. 19 based on false allegations. That said, casting blame after the fact does no good. Ultimately, measures such as these are won or lost based on the opinions of the millions of voters who are NOT a part of cannabis community, and next time we must collectively do a better job at persuading them.]

    7. cbc5g says:


      Heh I wouldn’t mind Cooley winning. It would be sweet justice to the for profit medical growers that rallied in support of NO on 19. They killed legalization.

    8. Same poster says:

      Ha, Ha, beat you to it !
      I already said what you have stated above several posts ago .I just used a different name .

    9. Lea says:

      Vote for Kamala Harris for Attorney General Southern California, please. As a California native I am begging you to not blow this one.