Feinstein flips on marijuana legalization after sharp criticism from corporate-free opponent


May 2, 2018

CALIFORNIA — One week after U.S. Senate candidate Alison Hartson released a video highlighting Senator Dianne Feinstein’s record on marijuana legalization, Feinstein abandoned her long-held position and now says she’ll support it.

In her video, released April 24, Hartson highlights Feinstein’s continued draconian positions on criminal justice reform, specifically when it comes to legalizing cannabis. The 84-year-old Senator has historically supported criminalizing non-violent citizens for marijuana use and possession.

“I’m not surprised my campaign has influenced Senator Feinstein’s reversal,” Hartson said, “but I am skeptical that her repositioning is anything more than a politically-motivated stunt."

Hartson, a 37-year-old Justice Democrat, who led all of her opponents in small-dollar donations in the final quarter of 2017, pointed to Feinstein posturing for DACA recipients earlier this year after spending her career portraying immigrants as criminals, and to her poorly-handled release of the transcript of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s interview of Fusion GPS, which she later blamed on a head cold.

“Her positions consistently and conveniently change in time for elections,” Hartson said. “We need representatives who stand strong in their convictions and evolve on policy positions due to evidence-based research, not campaign strategy.”

In 1996, Feinstein’s constituents approved the use of medicinal marijuana in California, and in 2016 they voted to legalize the drug for recreational use, but Feinstein championed opposition to both of those measures.

“Hartson is the only viable candidate running who has been a steadfast champion of the benefits of marijuana legalization,” said Cenk Uygur, a Hartson campaign advisor and founder of The Young Turks. “This most recent video is the only explanation for the abrupt about face in Feinstein’s long-held idea that marijuana should remain illegal.”

Voters increasingly continue to reject Feinstein's neoliberal agenda, stating they believe Feinstein -- one of the top 10 wealthiest members of Congress -- is out of touch with their desires and ideologies.  

“Alison Hartson is on the correct side of every issue the voters of California care about, and it didn’t take more than two decades for her to come around,” said Joe Spaulding, Hartson’s Campaign Policy Director. Spaulding attributed Hartson’s resonating message to the fact that she refuses corporate and dark money of any kind while the incumbent Congresswoman accepts campaign contributions from a slew of big industry lobbies including real estate, telecom and healthcare sectors.

“We applaud Dianne Feinstein for catching up with California voters on marijuana legalization,” said Spaulding. “It is important that we allow our legislators the opportunity to listen to their constituents. But the timing of this posturing -- five weeks before our state primary -- is undeniably motivated by Hartson’s video, not Feinstein’s genuine change of heart.”

Hartson’s video can be viewed on her website as well as her social media channels.

Alison Hartson is a True Progressive running for U.S. Senate in California. A former school teacher turned activist, Hartson spent 5 years at the helm of Wolf-PAC, an organization working for a 28th constitutional amendment to get money out of politics in this country once and for all. Hartson’s platform includes Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage tied to inflation, Maximum income and a swift shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. Learn more about Alison Hartson at alisonhartson.com.

Ricardo Gonzalez