Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Will pot legalization have to win over moms?

A Purple Gum marijuana plant on May 15, 2010.
A Purple Gum marijuana plant on May 15, 2010.

They won’t be able to vote, but kids could be the key to marijuana legalization.

Opponents of Proposition 64 have focused on stressing pot’s potential perils for the youth. For example, an ad that draws verbatim from critics' official ballot arguments warns about youngsters seeing weed commercials and trumpets research finding a spike in Colorado kids getting treated for accidentally consuming edible pot. In an opinion piece, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, framed her longstanding weed wariness to her concerns “as a parent and a grandparent.”

Today, mothers plan to emphasize that argument at a Capitol rally backed by a national anti-legalization outfit. The group Moms Strong will stress what they call the hazards of extra-powerful marijuana, from mental health risks to the prospect of drugged driving. They have gotten financial support from Smart Approaches to Marijuana, whose national campaign against permissive pot laws has included a California arm drawing some substantial donations. Some SAM members plan to be present, including the director of a Colorado rehab center who sits on the organization’s board.

For their part, Proposition 64 proponents argue that the status quo has failed kids who have been getting stoned illegally for decades, often incurring criminal records as a result. Far better to tightly regulate pot, they say, than letting a black market flourish.

We’ll see in November which argument resonates more. But you can count on more appeals to moms.

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BY THE NUMBERS: 62,281. That’s how many more registered Republicans lived in the 4th Congressional District than registered Democrats as of early July, which puts conservative stalwart Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, in good position to win a fifth term in November after claiming 61.5 percent of the vote in the June primary. He’ll debate Democratic challenger Dr. Bob Derlet at the Auburn City Council Chambers this morning at 7 a.m. You read that time right, but the early hour isn’t deterring anti-Donald Trump protesters from planning a demonstration outside.

PROGNOSTICATION: Speaking of voter registration: it has increased in California, along with turnout relative to 2012, which naturally has folks wondering about November numbers. Civic engagement guru Mindy Romero of UC Davis will delve into what we might expect, including for typically low-turnout cohorts like Latino voters, during a noon to 1:30 p.m. talk at 1130 K Street.

GO FISH: Aquatic creatures are big business for a state with a coastline as long as California’s, which means regular political disputes over approved fishing methods and balancing economic and environmental impacts. A Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture hearing today will examine some of fishing industry’s pressing issues. There will be an update on the perils of algae blooms, such as the one that scuttled last year’s Dungeness crab harvest; a shellfish discussion with a representative of the oyster industry, whose farming practices face scrutiny; and an examination of what it means now that humans consume more farmed fish than wild. From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Bodega Marine Laboratory in Bodega Bay.

WATER WARS: Speaking of fish: the California State Board of Food and Agriculture will take a look today at a proposal with sweeping implications for how we balance farms and fish. Regulators want to significantly increase how much San Joaquin River water stays in the system rather than getting diverted to human uses. Particularly at a time when diminished deliveries have ignited a well-drilling frenzy, the plan has profound implications for valley dwellers. It’s on the agenda for a 10 a.m. hearing at 1220 N Street that is expected to draw speakers representing the state, agriculture and water agencies.

Jeremy B. White: 916-326-5543, @CapitolAlert