Marijuana: Uncertain medicine
California Republicans endorsed a proposed ballot initiative to hasten death penalty appeals and another to boost transparency in the Legislature, but they voted Sunday to oppose legalized recreational marijuana, higher taxes on cigarettes, and a crackdown on guns and ammunition.
On the final day of the state party’s weekend convention, delegates considered a packed agenda of more than a dozen statewide measures that will appear, or are aiming for, the November ballot.
While the endorsements generally do not come with considerable financial resources, given the party’s focus on rebuilding though down-ballot candidate races, they provide a key benchmark for rank-and-file Republicans across California.
GOP delegates recommended support for an effort requiring stores to direct grocery bag fees to environmental projects, yet they instructed voters to oppose measures requiring condoms in pornography, establishing price standards for prescription drugs, limiting hospital executive pay, increasing income taxes on the wealthy and repealing the death penalty.
Delegates also urged “no” votes on Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal making it easier for nonviolent offenders to gain parole and a measure to revise a 1998 initiative that mostly eliminated bilingual education in California schools.
They backed a proposal requiring voter approval of revenue-bond projects of more than $2 billion.
After lengthy debate and see-saw votes on the convention floor Sunday, members ultimately backed a $9 billion school bond to pay for K-12 and community college facilities. The school bond sharply divided the party’s initiatives committee, led by GOP megadonor Charles Munger Jr., which recommended passage.
Munger’s legislative transparency measure stipulates that bills be published and publicly available for 72 hours before being voted on – an effort to end a long-criticized process known as gut-and-amend.