n November 2016, California’s Proposition 64, a measure to legalize the adult use of cannabis, looked to be cruising to victory. The initiative, led by then-Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, attracted few high-profile opponents—with one notable exception.
San Francisco created the modern medical marijuana movement. So why is the city's iconic leader California's last drug warrior?
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California’s powerful US Senator, high-ranking Democrat, and revered San Francisco icon, blasted the measure early and remained an unrelenting opponent. She signed a ballot statement accusing cannabis companies of plotting to lure “millions of children and teenage viewers” with television ads.
The Prop. 64 campaign spokesman called the statement “reminiscent of the ‘reefer madness’-style disinformation campaigns that subverted honest dialogue around this issue for decades.”
Feinstein’s opposition was hardly a surprise. For decades, the San Francisco Democrat has opposed nearly all forms of drug reform, from medical marijuana in the 1990s to California’s adult use measure in 2016. In recent years she’s been a key ally of Iowa’s Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, the two elder senators working together to block Congressional measures aimed at drug reform in the age of medical and adult-use legalization.
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