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California Democrats and Republicans award delegates in each congressional district.

“So you’re gonna essentially have 53 small campaigns around the state,” says Paul Mitchell, who runs one of California’s most respected political data companies. For example, he says, coastal Democrats don’t vote like inland Democrats. And in some districts, more people vote early by mail.

“Those kind of mechanical differences are gonna be extremely important when you’re talking about potentially somebody’s entire presidential campaign resting on being able to eke out a dozen delegates here, a dozen delegates there, going into the conventions.”

And another twist: Republican delegates are winner-take-all in each district; Democrats award delegates proportionally based on how well each candidate does. Both parties also award extra delegates based on the statewide vote.

 

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Budtender Andrew Urbina pulls strains from a shelf for a patient at Kushmart, one of the largest medical marijuana dispensaries in downtown Los Angeles, on Monday afternoon, Feb. 29, 2016. Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Right now it’s not hard to buy pot legally in California: $40 and a trip to the doctor, and you have yourself a prescription for medical marijuana, which you can use to treat things like back pain and anxiety.

But a campaign is underway to make pot legal for recreational use. Supporters are gathering signatures now to put an initiative on the November ballot, asking California voters if pot should be fully legal, like it is in Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

Those signatures are for the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA). It’s likely going to be the initiative that makes it to California’s ballot, according to Beau Kilmer, co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center. So far it has more traction than the other marijuana-related initiatives being circulated. It’s been endorsed by notable marijuana advocacy groups like NORML and has received significant financial support from Napster’s Sean Parker, who donated $1 million to the campaign.

So, what’ll actually change if it comes to pass? Here’s what you need to know:

Would I be able to buy pot in a supermarket?

“If adult legalization passes in California in November, you’re not going to be able to walk into a supermarket in December and buy a joint,” said Kilmer. People 21 and older would be able to walk into licensed retailers and buy marijuana without a prescription. When those retailers could open up is unclear.

But where you could buy marijuana would still depend on what city you’re in. Currently, individual cities can decide whether or not they allow medical dispensaries to set up and sell pot. Some do, and some don’t. The ones that don’t — for example, Pasadena — can continue to outlaw marijuana shops, even if recreational weed becomes legal statewide. People living in cities where pot shops are not allowed could still have it delivered to their door, or they could simply travel to another city to buy it.

Pot could remain a cash business, as it has been, said Kilmer, because marijuana is illegal under federal law, and banks are federally-regulated. In order for that to change, there would have to be changes at the federal level. In other states that have fully-legalized marijuana, pot shops continue to be mostly cash businesses.

Would there a limit on how much marijuana I can possess?

Yes, 28.5 grams, or a little over an ounce of marijuana, in plant form. If it’s in the form of a concentrate, the limit is 8 grams. Since people can legally cultivate up to six plants on their property, they could end up with more than 28.5 grams of harvestable marijuana. In that case, no more than the maximum possession amount can leave the property at one time.

Would everyone be smoking in public?

Not legally. The same restrictions (and then some) would apply to marijuana that apply to tobacco. There would be no consumption allowed in public spaces, in schools or in businesses, unless the businesses are licensed to allow that type of activity. It’ll also continue to be illegal to operate motor vehicles under the influence.

How could legal marijuana be different than what’s currently out there?

It would be much more regulated, as the entire infrastructure would be tracked from seed to sale. Consumers would know where their product came from, what products were used to grow it and how much THC (the psychoactive chemical in pot) exists in what they buy. All of that information would have to be included in an ingredient list on the pot product. Manufacturers would also have to include whether the product was made in a facility that also processes nuts.

There would also be a required legal warning on marijuana packaging, as there is on cigarette packs. The state would know who’s producing, selling and manufacturing marijuana and marijuana products, as licenses are going to be issued.

How could things change for companies that are already manufacturing marijuana products?

Some believe that legalization could bring more legitimacy to their line of work, and that as a result, they’d sell more of their product.

Michael Lewis co-owns a company called Sprig, which manufactures THC-infused soda and sells it in medical dispensaries in California. He said that the increased regulation would be good for his business, and for the industry as a whole.

“It’ll improve the products. It’ll make things safer… and it’ll make it more of a legitimate industry,” Lewis said.

It’s the legitimacy that he’s after. He’s already manufacturing his soda in a large-scale bottling plant and designing the can so to look like any other that you’d find in a grocery store. It looks professional.

Currently, no matter how hard he tries, he said, he can’t get away from certain legal grey areas. For instance, he has to procure THC syrup from his “guy” in Northern California.

“He does operate a pretty clandestine business… There are some people in the state that have poked their head out of the fox hole. It’s generally not a good idea in my opinion.”

If recreational pot is legalized, Lewis thinks he’ll be in a good position to take advantage of the new market. Getting pot syrup would be in a little bit less of a grey area and some companies that have been uncomfortable working with him might change their mind.

He anticipates his company’s sales will jump from about 15,000 cans a month to 75,000 as more shops open and pot use becomes more socially acceptable.

Would this whole thing make California any money?

In 2014, dispensaries in California brought in about $570 million, which resulted in about $49.5 million in taxable income. A state report estimates that if recreational marijuana is legalized, it could bring in more than $1 billion in taxes statewide. That money could be used to study the impact of marijuana use, drug use prevention and social welfare programs.

Oregon, Colorado and Washington have all seen an increase in tax revenue as a result of legalization.

California Counts is a collaboration of KPBS, KPCC, KQED and Capital Public Radio to report on the 2016 election. The coverage focuses on major issues and solicits diverse voices on what’s important to the future of California.

Copyright 2015 KPCC. To see more election coverage, visit http://www.kpcc.org/.

Jacob Margolis

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California congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, who is running for U.S. Senate, sits inside Tlaquepaque Restaurant in Placentia on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. Sanchez has been visiting the restaurant, which used to be a bakery, since she was a child. Maya Sugarman/KPCC

It’s been two and a half decades since California voters last filled a U.S. Senate vacancy, but with veteran lawmaker Barbara Boxer set to step down this year, voters have a chance to pick from four major candidates competing to fill her seat.

U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez is one of two Democrats in the running. After 20 years in House of Representatives, the Orange County congresswoman aims to move up to the Senate.

She has been trailing a fellow Democrat and the front-runner in the race, state Attorney General Kamala Harris. In a January survey, The Field Poll showed among likely voters who stated a preference, Harris led by 27 percent to Sanchez’ 15 percent.

Two Republicans, Tom Del Beccaro and Duf Sundheim, trailed behind them at 3 percent each. A third Republican, Rocky Chavez, drew support from 7 percent of the respondents, but he has since withdrawn from the race.

Significantly, a large segment of those polled, 44 percent, were undecided. It’s the voters in that group who Sanchez hopes to sway to her side. Even if she comes in second in California’s June 7 primary election, she can survive to the general election under the state’s open primary contest in which the top two vote-getters move on to the November ballot regardless of their party affiliation.

The Senate race is the biggest political competition since California adopted top-two primary in 2011, and it likely will force a faceoff between the two well-known Democrats.

On the campaign trail

During a February evening in the city of Pico Rivera in Los Angeles County, music played in one room of a Mexican restaurant that also doubles as a nightclub.

In another room, a campaign event was about to get underway for Loretta Sanchez. The congresswoman sat down to explain why she thinks California voters should elect her to the Senate.

“I know how to work with Democrats and with Republicans. So I think I will take that knowledge over to the Senate with me,” she said.

She has been a member of the House since 1996, when she narrowly beat Orange County Republican Bob Dornan.

Her rankings among special interest and labor groups as compiled by the elections site VoterSmart.org are aligned with her politics as a moderate Democrat: high among groups like Planned Parenthood and lower as rated by the National Rifle Association.

Sanchez points out that she is the only candidate running who has a track record in Congress. She is proud of her role in the passage of revised sexual assault provisions in the military justice code and sits on the House armed services and homeland security committees.

When asked how she differs from Harris, Sanchez turned not to the issues that separate them, but to her upbringing.

“My parents are Mexican immigrants, came here with nothing, settled in Anaheim, had seven children,” she said.

If Sanchez wins, she would be the first Latina senator. Should Harris prevail, her win would also be notable. Harris’ mother is from India and her father grew up in Jamaica.

Loretta Sanchez’ younger sister, Linda Sanchez, is also a congresswoman, representing the 38th district covering Montebello, Pico Rivera, Norwalk and Artesia. At her sister’s political event, Linda Sanchez rallied the audience.

“She’s the number two Democrat on both the homeland security committee and the armed services committee and, let me tell you, she knows her s—,” Linda Sanchez said, drawing laughter and applause from the crowd.

Trailing in support

More than 20 Los Angeles County officials at the event endorsed Loretta Sanchez for the Senate race. But Sanchez found less enthusiasm at the California Democrats State Convention in February, landing the endorsement of just 19 percent of the delegates to Harris’ 78 percent.

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, who is running for U.S. Senate, sits inside Tlaquepaque Restaurant in Placentia on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. Sanchez has been going to the restaurant since she was a child.
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, who is running for U.S. Senate, sits inside Tlaquepaque Restaurant in Placentia on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. Sanchez has been going to the restaurant since she was a child. Maya Sugarman/KPCC

When it comes to issues like immigration, job creation and the environment, Sanchez and Harris are not far apart. One difference between them has emerged on the issue of Apple Inc.’s resistance to the FBI’s request to crack into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists: Sanchez is backing Apple and Harris is not taking sides.

Sanchez speaks of banning gun shows and limiting gun magazines to 10-round capacities. She’s endorsed a ballot measure that would raise the minimum wage in California to $15 an hour and backs healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

Los Angeles County Congresswoman Janice Hahn, who is running for a Los Angeles County supervisor seat, is among those who is supporting Sanchez.

“I think she’s effective in a way of communicating to the American people some of the issues, particularly as it relates to homeland security,” Hahn said.

Sanchez’ communication style has landed Sanchez in trouble in the past. She has taken heat for making a Native American war cry gesture after a mixup in referring to a person from India and a Native American. She apologized for the gaffe, but it continues to haunt her politically.

Then she drew criticism for stating on Larry King’s show that up to 20 percent of Muslims want an Islamic caliphate. In that case, she did not apologize, but stood by her statement.

“I have spoken to those comments and the reality is that there’s no one who has done more for the Muslim American community than I have, ” she told KPCC.

Bill Whalen of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution said there’s a clear difference in the way Sanchez and Harris speak.

“Harris is quiet, reserved,” he said. “Loretta Sanchez is a little more earthy, and a little more out there. And she has shall we say a checkered record when it comes to comments she has made that are sometimes politically incorrect and then sometimes just some tone-deaf political judgments,” he said.

Whalen points to one moment in 2000 when Sanchez tried to organize a political fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion during the Democratic National Convention. Under political pressure, she later relocated it to Universal Studios CityWalk.

Asked what she learned from the reaction to her fundraiser, Sanchez suggested sexism was behind the kerfuffle.

“I learned that people are harder on women than men,” she said. Sanchez maintains that male politicians have held fundraisers at the Playboy Mansion and did not receive the flak she attracted.

Theresa Hennessey, Playboy Enterprises spokeswoman, said fundraisers have been held at the mansion for politicians like former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley and ex-Chicago Mayor Harold Washington.

Bradley served from 1973 to 1993 while Washington held office in the 1980s.

Voter turnout may be key

Sanchez met up with KPCC recently in Orange County in the city of Placentia, about a mile north from where she grew up. In high school, she worked cleaning houses with her mom on weekends and scooped ice cream at a local Save On.

During the visit, Sanchez ducked inside a shop called Mexico Supermarket, where pinatas hung from the ceiling. In the back, a cook chopped beef for carne asada tacos.

While Sanchez visited the store, Placentia resident Brian Richards grabbed her attention.

“I wish we had more like you,” Richards said, assuring Sanchez that he’d vote for her.

But Sanchez also met someone who may represent her biggest challenge: people who see no reason to vote.

Recent college grad Taylor Chun, the store manager, worked behind the cash register. She told Sanchez she hoped someday to become a wedding planner.

After the congresswoman left, Chun said she does not plan to vote. She would like to see things change in her neighborhood, such as more jobs. But Chun said she doesn’t think a new senator will make a difference.

“I feel like nobody really is going to help us,” the young cashier said. “They get the votes, they win and then after that, it’s like nothing is really changing.”

Therein lies a problem: voter turnout could have a major impact on Sanchez’ campaign.

Although Southern California has a larger population, voters in Northern California where Harris has her base cast their ballots at higher rates.

Political analysts point out Sanchez will need Southern Californians like Chun to vote if the congresswoman is to have a better chance at defeating Harris. Also key to her success are Latino voters, a group that historically records low voter turnout rates.

“If you’re Sanchez … you have to do two things right now,” Whalen said. Appeal to “Latino voters, primarily in Southern California, and then secondly, Southern California Democrats writ large.”

Copyright 2016 KPCC. To see more election coverage, visit http://www.kpcc.org.

Series: California Counts

California Counts is a collaboration of KPBS, KPCC, KQED and Capital Public Radio to report on the 2016 election. The coverage focuses on major issues and solicits diverse voices on what’s important to the future of California.

Read more in this series and let us know your thoughts on Twitter using the hashtag #CACounts.

Mary Plummer
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California farmers produce more food than any other state on the country. But what if the state’s Big Agriculture also included marijuana? Backers of a ballot measure to legalize marijuana in California have started collecting signatures. And if it makes it onto the ballot and passes, Golden State growers might have a new crop to harvest.

Some Central Valley growers are already eyeing that possibility, including Los Banos farmer Cannon Michael.

A few years ago Michael discovered a 1-acre illegal marijuana grow on his land.

“They had made reservoirs and they were pumping water,” Michael says. “They had buried generators. They had this whole encampment and we knew nothing about it.”

He says the forbidden plantation was worth around $19 million. That’s more than he makes on 11,000 acres of tomatoes, cotton and other crops in one year. It got him thinking.

“I don’t know, I guess if I thought if I put in a 200-acre planting of marijuana, would the market sustain that?” says Michael.

Cannabis becoming a major player in big agriculture depends on whether Californians vote to legalize pot. If a legalization measure passes, the state would still have to develop regulations on how marijuana can be grown — and farmers would have to figure out which crops grow best. Even still, becoming a big grower early on makes sense for farmers like Cannon Michael, who have land and resources.

“To me it’s just another potential option for something that could be a benefit to the farm, and then also make some money hopefully,” Michael says.

But small farmers already growing legal medical marijuana say they don’t want big ag to push out smaller existing farms.

“I don’t really see any clear benefit,” says Hezekiah Allen with the California Growers Association, representing over 500 members. “Certainly our hope is that we kind of avoid consolidation and we don’t really move in that direction.”

Allen does think there is one role big farms can play: growing hemp, which has lower THC levels and can be used to make paper, cloth and soap.

Federal raids on medical marijuana are still happening in California. Some local sheriffs are going after pot farms, too. Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, for example, has waged an all-out war on marijuana, raiding grows not only in cities but in the Sierra Nevada and on farmland.

“For me it really started out as the violence issue: the home invasion robberies, the homicides, the assaults, the assaults with a deadly weapon,” Mims says. “All of that started increasing in these large marijuana grows.”

Her officers have encountered gangs, booby traps and military-grade weapons at grow sites.

“If we again start allowing people to have these large grows, the violence will go up again,” says Mims.

She hopes whatever initiative passes includes some sort of control by local law enforcement.

“As long as that happens, we’re all going to come out ahead because then cities and counties can make up their own minds about what they want to do with their own land-use ordinances,” says Mims.

She also doesn’t think farmers used to growing peaches or tomatoes will want to pay taxes and fees that could come with legalizing the marijuana crop.

But companies that sell supplies for growing medical marijuana say they’re getting ready for a boom if big ag gets in on the game.

At Current Culture H20, a hydroponics company in Fresno, Christian Long sells water-based systems to help people grow all sorts of plants and vegetables. But most of his business comes from people growing cannabis.

One of his systems consists of 12 tubs connected together with PVC pipes to grow broccoli. It’s a modular system that could be used on large-scale farms.

“We’re not leaving the hobby segment, but we’re creating a whole new segment in our business that’s specifically for commercial,” says Long.

He’s expanding his warehouse by 22,000 feet, anticipating that orders will increase if a measure legalizing recreational marijuana passes later this fall.

Copyright 2016 KQED

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Today, The World launches a new series on climate change and the future of food.  Host Marco Werman speaks with The World’s environment editor Peter Thomson about the inspiration for the series and some of what we’ll hear over the next couple of months.

Marco Werman: What’s for lunch?

It’s one of my favorite questions, always.

You listeners have been helping us with answers in recent days, Instagramming your meals using the hashtag #whats4lunch, and telling us how what you eat has might be changing because of climate change.

What’s for lunch. It’s also the name of an upcoming series of reports on The World.

The World’s environment editor Peter Thomson is producing and editing the series.

Why are we featuring these stories, Peter, and why the name – What’s for Lunch?

Peter Thomson: Well, the inspiration for the series was really just a couple of facts that are at once very simple and incredibly complicated. The first is that growing enough food is really the basis of human civilization.  It’s always been a big challenge, but it’s becoming even more so because of the second of these facts, which is that agriculture is really right in the cross-hairs of climate change.

Werman: Alright, how so?

Thomson: Some of the most basic effects of climate change will have huge impacts on agriculture.  Think of things like rising sea levels, rising temperatures, changing patterns of rainfall and drought, where and when insects show up.

And at the same time agriculture itself is a major part of the the climate problem, both because it uses huge amounts of fossil fuels and because it also produces huge amounts of greenhouse gases.

So how we get our food will change. And together with the folks at Homelands Productions, who are our partners in this project, we wanted to talk with people around the world who are working on some of those changes.

As for the name, lunch I guess is in some ways the most ordinary of meals, and we thought it would help capture how this massive global challenge is going to affect some of the most mundane parts of our lives.

Werman: My own little contribution to this global challenge is, I try to shop as locally as possible. I’ve been illustrating my habits on Instagram like our listeners, using that hashtag #whats4lunch. And it’s making me think, but the toughest thing about all this climate change vs. food puzzle for me is getting information about the food I eat, where it comes from. How is all this affecting you personally?

Thomson: Well, I think about this stuff all the time and it’s just as much of a challenge for me and my family, I think, and as it is for you and everybody else who tries to be aware of the environmental impact of their food.

Where our food comes from, your question, is certainly a big part of the question, not merely because of the “food miles” issue – how far our food travels to get to us – but also because one really important response to the challenge of climate change is building local resilience.  Food supplies are going to be disrupted, to different degrees in different times and different places, which makes it really important for every region to be as self-sufficient as possible. Not an easy task of course, no place will ever be able to completely achieve it.

Just as important of course are things like cutting down on the energy and other inputs that go into your food.

There are resources out there that can help people figure these things out but it can still be incredibly difficult. Our hope is that this series and our online components of it will help our listeners at least a bit.

Werman: So what are some of the highlights?

Thomson: Well, we’re going to be looking at solutions people are working on around the world – local, global, high tech, low-tech. So just to illustrate that range, among other places we’ll go to Mexico, where a grain that once was a staple there is being brought back. It’s called amaranth, it’s extremely nutritious. Just as important, its very resistant to drought, heat and pests.

We’ll also go to the Netherlands, where researchers are exploring alternatives to traditional animal protein, among them things like lab-grown meat.

Werman: Lab-grown meat, I don’t know how I feel about that.

So what are we going to hear today?.

Thomson: So to kick things off we’re heading to Singapore, which is one of the most crowded places in the world. We’re going to look at the emerging phenomenon of super-efficient vertical farming.  Our reporter for today’s story is Sam Eaton.

Werman: Alright, let’s get in the elevator. Thank you, Peter Thomson, The world’s environment editor.

“What’s for Lunch” is the latest chapter in “Food for 9 Billion,” a two-year project spearheaded by Homelands Productions and the Center for Investigative Reporting, and broadcast partners PBS NewsHour and American Public Media’s Marketplace.

 

From PRI’s The World ©2015 Public Radio International

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10,000 new smile!

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Cras eleifend a magna nec egestas. In consequat nisi sit amet lorem vehicula, quis volutpat erat congue. Morbi vestibulum et mi eget pretium. Mauris gravida orci vitae dolor euismod cursus. Integer dictum lacus convallis felis commodo pulvinar. Nunc accumsan tristique sapien, in vulputate elit iaculis sit amet.

 

Morbi vestibulum et mi eget pretium. Mauris gravida orci vitae dolor euismod cursus. Integer dictum lacus convallis felis commodo pulvinar. Nunc accumsan tristique sapien, in vulputate elit iaculis sit amet.

— Albert Doe

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