California’s new senator as soon as did a PSA with Cheech Marin
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced today that current Secretary of State Alex Padilla will fill the vacancy of Senator Kamala Harris, who will be sworn in as Vice President Harris on January 20, 2021.
The appointment bodes well for reform of cannabis law at the national and state levels. Senator Padilla is expected to support legalization at least as much as Harris – if not more. As a Senator, Harris sponsored the most comprehensive bill to end the marijuana ban, the MORE Act. That bill would remove the kind of marijuana crimes she once prosecuted as the San Francisco District Attorney and later as the California Attorney General.
“I am pleased with his selection by Governor Newsom.”
David Goldman, Brownie Mary Democratic Club Chapter President of San Francisco
2021 Congress will consider more such calls for withdrawal from cannabis, and reformers should benefit from a savvy new Senator Padilla.
David Goldman, chapter president of the Brownie Mary Democratic Club in San Francisco, said, “I am pleased with his selection by Governor Newsom.”
Why is Alex Padilla cool?
Government positions play an outsized role in shaping the reality of legalization.
Where previous California leaders had obstructed cannabis reform, Padilla adopted it. As Secretary of State during and after the 2016 California vote to legalize recreational marijuana, Padilla helped bring legalization into place by promptly licensing cannabis companies. By the end of 2020, California had annual sales of $ 3.8 billion in legal taxable cannabis.
In 2017, Padilla’s office created an online portal, Cannabizfile Online, which helped migrate the state’s many old medical cannabis companies into the new legal and regulated era.
To promote this service, Padilla appeared in a public announcement (PSA) with legendary pot comedian Cheech Marin. Cheech played an officer who helped on board a potential licensee. Padilla thanks Cheech. It’s tame. Let’s dare say normal.
Padilla & Cheech team up
(Screengrab Youtube: CaliforniaSOS)
“I think it’s great,” said Nate Bradley, veteran of Prop 64 legalization campaign and president of the Cannabis Consumer Policy Council. “Alex has a long history of working for people.”
“He had a great working relationship with the California Cannabis Industry Association,” said Bradley of Padilla’s efforts as Secretary of State. “He gave us great access to him and his office whenever we needed help.”
Cannabis brands available
The Secretary of State has also made a solid contribution to cannabis product and branding developers by approving the trademark of marijuana.
Each state has different trademark rules, and California’s protection has topped the US Patent and Trademark Office, said cannabis policy expert Max Mikalonis of Sacramento’s K Street Consulting.
“I am optimistic that he will serve as California’s newest US Senator on cannabis.”
The MORE Act calls for profound changes to the federal cannabis law
Steps before legalization
In contrast to some other state secretaries, Padilla did not interfere in the process of legalization.
He confirmed the initiative to appear on the voting slip in June 2016 before the successful November 2016 vote.
And he has cast votes on the right side of history throughout his career. As a legislature in Sacramento, Padilla agreed:
Supporting employment protection for medical cannabis patients in favor of legalizing hemp to counter DEA raids on cannabis companies
The voices were groundbreaking at the time.
“Another fun fact” about Padilla, Bradley said, is that “He started out in the civil service at a young age. He was president of the LA City Council of [age] 28. ”
Padilla earned an MS in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and served as a Los Angeles City Councilor from 1999-2006. From 2001 to 2006 he was President of the Council. A term as senator followed. He took over the position of State Secretary in 2015 and won re-election in 2019. His current term of office should run until 2023.
I am humble and honored to be California’s next Senator from the United States. Thank you @GavinNewsom for entrusting me with the job of defending the dream for the people of California. https://t.co/bCwf05C3hm pic.twitter.com/Fn5iNl6ldS
– Alex Padilla (@ AlexPadilla4CA) December 22, 2020
Actually three important dates
With Padilla, three key appointments are likely to bode well for weed under Governor Newsom – whose staunch support helped surpass legalization in 2016.
While Padilla moves to Congress, Newsom must now fill the position of California Secretary of State and likely the position of California Attorney General. All three seats have left cannabis history behind and can do so again.
David Downs directs news and lifestyle coverage as chief of the California Bureau for Leafly.com. He has written for WIRED, Rolling Stone and Billboard and is the former cannabis editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and author of several cannabis books including ‘Marijuana Harvest’ by Ed Rosenthal and David Downs. He is the co-host of the Hash podcast. TW: @davidrdowns | IG @daviddowns
Show article by David Downs