DEA’s hazy vision on marijuana; Tesla motors ahead in the Capitol

Good morning. On behalf of The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, welcome to The Take, your opinion-politics newsletter. Please sign up for it here.

Tesla makes a move in the Legislature, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration fails to recognize reality, and Hillary Clinton offers her vision for the economy. Carve out time today to read essays by Larry Tye and John Pitney.

Take that

Tesla founder Elon Musk went on a rant about the California Air Resources Board, insisting that California must to do yet more for the company, despite having given it millions in subsidies, tax breaks and other goodies.

Telsa’s goal is to get more credits for selling zero-emission vehicles, which it then sells to other car companies so they can comply with mandates that automakers increase their mileage.

“The California Air Resources Board is being incredibly weak in its application of ZEV credits,” Musk said on the company’s earnings call Wednesday.

Late Thursday, Tesla-backed legislation circulated in the Capitol. The bill seeks to ensure that California favors electric vehicles, the sort made by Tesla, to the disadvantage of plug-in hybrids, fuel cell vehicles and any other technology that might emerge.

Expecting a full-on fight with other automakers, Tesla has armed itself with some of the biggest, toughest lobby firms in town, including Platinum Advisors, California Strategies and, as of this week, Lang, Hansen, O’Malley & Miller.

“Elon Musk is running a business. Using these credits is part of his business,” Air Board member Hector De La Torre told me Thursday. “Our mandate is not to support corporate business plans. Our mandate is to provide a variety of vehicles.”

In other words, what’s good for Tesla is not necessary good for the state or consumers.

Take a number: 5.02 billion

California motorists consumed 5.02 billion gallons of gasoline in the first four months of 2016, up from 4.9 billion the year before and 4.7 billion gallons five years ago. And yet California aspires to cut petroleum use and increase zero-emission vehicles.

Our take

Editorial: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is blowing more smoke over marijuana by restricting research.

Editorial: Hillary Clinton aims her economic policy at lifting middle class.

Ben Boychuk, among our regular contributors: The logic behind Donald Trump’s outrageous statement.

Steven Maviglio’s Soapbox: Proposition 54 is a special interest ploy by Charles Munger Jr. and the California Chamber of Commerce.

Craig McNamara: Increasingly, we are learning of the undesirable side effects of nitrogen, including polluted water and air. But California can help solve the problem.

Forum preview

John J. Pitney Jr.: To anybody who says that the argument between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stops with the words, “Supreme Court,” I offer two other words: “nuclear weapons.”

Larry Tye: Robert F. Kennedy, Cesar Chavez and unfinished business.

Their take

East Bay Times: The California Medical Association has successfully blocked simple, meaningful reform that could greatly reduce the human toll of opioids.

Debra J. Saunders, The Chronicle: The DEA’s Chuck Rosenberg is ignoring the gulf between legal requirements and reality.

San Diego Union Tribune: It may not get as much attention as more visceral stories, but the bleak outlook for the giant California Public Employees’ Retirement System and its 1.8 million members is troubling news.

Tacoma News Tribune: Inmates at the Pierce County jail have the right not to remain silent when it comes to exercising their right to vote, but few may know it.

David French, National Review: It’s remarkable the extent to which the battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump isn’t a battle over their perceived qualities, but rather their manifold flaws.

Syndicates’ take

Michael Gerson: Donald Trump’s failed economic plan.

Eugene Robinson: Donald Trump tries to wreck the political system.

Charles Krauthammer: To each his own Olympics.

Nicholas Kristof: President Barack Obama’s worst mistake.

Gail Collins: If you’re a Republican politician, announcing you’re not going to vote for Donald Trump is a little like declaring that you’re not going to rob a bank to finance your next campaign.

The Trump follies

The Republican Party can’t quite tell Donald Trump “you’re fired,” but they can tell their nominee, “you’re cut off!” More than 70 Republicans are calling for Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to stop spending money on Trump’s presidential campaign.

In an open letter obtained by POLITICO, they charged: “Only the immediate shift of all available RNC resources to vulnerable Senate and House races will prevent the GOP from drowning with a Trump-emblazoned anchor around its neck.”

Priebus was silent Thursday, but he might be thinking the same thing. According to some reports, Priebus told Trump last week to either knock off the sideshows and rescue his spiraling poll numbers up, or the party may shift its attention to down-ballot races.

This week? He has suggested that gun owners assassinate Hillary Clinton. He has said that President Barack Obama is the “founder” and “the most valuable player” of ISIS, and has declined again to release his tax returns.

Trump says he’s not changing, but in a rare moment of humility admitted Thursday that he might lose in November. If so, “I’m going to have a very, very nice, long vacation.”Erika D. Smith, @Erika_D_Smith