Sacramento Mayor-elect Darrell Steinberg, a veteran of legislative battles over medical cannabis, said Friday he supports the fall initiative to fully legalize recreational marijuana in California.
Steinberg is the largest city leader to line up behind Proposition 64, and his support points to a thawing in local government’s historical opposition to legitimizing the drug.
The League of California Cities, the statewide organization representing municipalities, has a neutral position on the pot measure, in part because it allows localities to ban sales in their jurisdictions.
Steinberg, in a statement outlining his position, stressed that he is “no particular fan of marijuana,” and remains concerned about its health effects on children. But he said the solution is not prohibition.
“California needs a smarter and more honest approach to marijuana policy – one that prioritizes strict regulation and prevention over criminalization, protects local decision-making authority and brings oversight and enforcement, consumer and environmental protections and a common-sense tax structure to what is already a billion-dollar industry,” Steinberg said.
He added his belief that the measure adequately protects locals’ land-use authority, safeguards employers and steers hundreds of millions of dollars to youth and job-training programs.
Steinberg, a Democrat and the former state Senate leader, joins Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom as among the most prominent elected officials to come out for pot. Newsom has chided his statewide counterparts for laying off what has been a thorny issue for politicians.
The Field-IGS Poll released late Thursday found 60 percent of likely voters support Proposition 64, 31 percent are opposed and 9 percent undecided.