Where Do the Candidates for Governor Stand on Cannabis?

There are 27 hopefuls vying to compete in the general election for governor. Voters will have a chance to pick the top two Tuesday. The top six contenders -- four Democrats and two Republicans -- have been weighing in on a number of important issues over the past several months, from housing and homeless to immigration and economic inequality. But where do they stand on cannabis?

Leafly has a breakdown here, but we’ll summarize:

John Chiang, Democrat

As California’s treasurer, Chiang can speak to the banking challenges facing the marijuana industry. And speak to that issue, he has. Chiang spearheaded the state’s Cannabis Working Group last year with the goal of developing solutions to cannabis’ notorious baking problem. The panel ultimately recommended further study of the issue and possible creation of a credit union or public-private consortium.

Delaine Eastin, Democrat

Former assemblywoman and Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin wants to see an end to the War on Drugs. She is a firm believer in cannabis decriminalization, but has said Proposition 64 should have included investments in mental health. She also supports the creation of a public bank for the cannabis industry -- an endeavor that Chiang’s working group has concluded would likely be too complex.

Gavin Newsom, Democrat

Newsom is the only Democrat out of the four that claims he’s never smoked pot. In fact, he “hates the stuff.” That said, Newsom was at the forefront of the cannabis movement, hopping aboard the legalization train early on. That foresight has paid off. Newsom has received the most money from the marijuana industry of any candidate running Tuesday.

Antonio Villaraigosa, Democrat

Villaraigosa was a supporter of Proposition 64, but only after careful study of the issue. Villaraigosa says he needed to be sure that adequate protections for children and public safety were in place before lending his endorsement. Today, Villaraigosa’s focus is on small cannabis farmers and businesses, which many industry experts say have been left out in the cold. 

Travis Allen, Republican

Ideologically, Travis Allen is about a stone’s throw from Jeff Sessions. He predicts the legalization of recreational marijuana in California will have “disastrous consequences.” He was also one of only two Assembly members to oppose Senate Bill 94, a bill to license and regulate commercial cannabis in California.

John Cox, Republican

Cox is also opposed to recreational marijuana, though he says he does support medical use. Cox would like to see a system that treats pot use as a medical ailment rather than a crime, however. He made headlines recently when he went so far as to suggest marijuana users should be hospitalized for addiction.

The top two candidates to finish in Tuesday's primary will advance to the General Election for Governor in November.